Aunt Charged in Mission Street Hit-and-Run Case (CA Vehicle Code 20002)

The aunt of her niece (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) (25) decided to take her and her twin brother to a late movie in the Mission District.  The problem occurred when, on their way to the parking garage near the Westfield San Francisco Centre, they had to cross Mission Street.  Traveling against the crosswalk signs and while the light was green for drivers, she took her niece out into the middle of the street, leaving her there for the time it took for her to go back for her twin brother.  During that space of time, her niece was struck and killed by a vehicle that never stopped.  Gage has been arrested, to the chagrin of her sister, on charges of felony child endangerment, mainly due to evidence from security camera footage at the scene.  The driver of the car that hit the toddler has yet to be identified.

Although the daughter’s mother is horrified, shocked, and angry that her sister currently sits in jail because of the incident, she blames the driver instead. By California law, the aunt’s actions fall under CA Penal Code 273a.  Here, child endangerment can be described in at least 3 ways: allowing a child to be subjected to any physical or mental pain and suffering, causing or permitting a child to be injured while in your care, and causing or permitting a child to be in a dangerous situation.  Whether the aunt acted purposefully and with malice or not, the fact that she left her young niece in the middle of a crosswalk while drivers had a green light is certainly considered putting her in a dangerous situation.  Because her niece was killed in the incident, the aunt has been charged with a felony and will face up to 6 years in state prison.  When and if the driver of the car can be identified, they will be subject to felony hit-and-run charges (CA Vehicle Code 20002)