The Lethal Month of May
Sometimes bad things come in spurts, and for the Santa Monica Police Department, the month of May 2008 was a spurt of bad things to encounter and deal with. Violent and lethal bad things.
On Sunday, May 11, at 11:30 p.m., officers responded to the 1900 block of 20th Street on reports of a man lying unconscious on the sidewalk. The man appeared to the police to be the victim of an assault. Fire Department paramedics were summoned, and they took the man, later identified as Santa Monica resident Preston Brumfield, to a local hospital.
Mr. Brumfield succumbed to his injuries while at the hospital and was pronounced dead on Friday, May 16. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office declared the death to be a homicide.
Then, on Wednesday, May 14, at 3:45 in the afternoon, officers were called to the 1800 block of 10th Street regarding an 84-year-old woman who was found lying unconscious near the street. SMFD paramedics again responded and took the woman to a local hospital, where she later died. Investigators from the Santa Monica Police Department Major Accident Reconstruction Team (MART) responded to the scene and are investigating the incident as a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision.
Another traffic death occurred on Wednesday, May 28, in a traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a bicycle. Officers were called to the 1900 block of 14th Street at 3:02 in the afternoon; paramedics responded and took the cyclist to a local hospital, where she later died. She has been identified as Venice resident Carolyn Ackerson, 49 years of age.
Investigators from SMPD MART spoke to witnesses at the scene, who said they saw the cyclist lose control of her bicycle and veer across two lanes of traffic and fall from her bicycle into an opposing lane of traffic, where she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. No charges of fault have been filed on the driver of the vehicle.
Finally, on Thursday, May 29, a 60-year-old homeless man named John Cameron Wallen died in the hospital from injuries sustained in a hit and run collision. On Wednesday, May 21, at approximately 12:08 a.m., Wallen was struck by a vehicle while jaywalking across Lincoln Boulevard just north of Ocean Park Boulevard. After the impact, the suspect vehicle – described as late model Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra, dark blue or black, with probable damage to its front end and possibly its windshield – fled the scene without stopping or rendering aid. SMFD paramedics took the victim to a local hospital where he was listed as critical and placed on life support until his May 29 death.
In the very serious words of the fictional Hill Street Blues Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s all be a little careful out there.”