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The USC Hit and Run…. Sorrow and a Search

March 31st, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

grieving-mother.gif

The grief-stricken woman above is Carmen Bachan, the mother of a lovely USC student,
18-year-old Adrianna Bachan. Adrianna was killed Sunday by a hit and run driver at the intersection of Jefferson and Hoover when she was on her way home from a fraternity party at around 3 a.m.

The driver blew through the intersection fast
and slammed into the pretty, soccer-playing freshman and her friend, another USC student, Marcus Garfinkle, 19. Adrianna was thrown over the car by the force of the blow.

Marcus remained on the hood of the car, his body partially inside the smashed windshield
, as the driver kept on going for almost a full block, maybe more.

“Nearly to the Shrine,” said LAPD Sergeant Jon Aufdemberg of the South Traffic division. He meant the old and beautiful Shrine Auditorium located close to Figueroa. I spoke to Aufdemberg late last night. He was one of the first officers on the scene.

When the driver finally stopped, Aufdemberg said, it was the passenger who got out. But neither driver nor passenger helped the kids. Instead the passenger shoved Marcus Garfinkle’s body out of the windshield, off the hood of car and to the pavement. Then he got back inside the vehicle and the driver sped off.

Adrianna died from her injuries. Marcus was rushed to the hospital and is now stable. “I’m telling you, that boy was cut up really badly,” said Aufdemberg. “He’s lucky he’s alive.”

Here’s the LA Times story on the hit-and-run, written by Ari Bloomekatz.

And here is a heartbreaking video report produced by my talented former student, Matt Mendez, for Annenberg TV News. (It was Matt who found an additional witness who had yet to talk to police, and broke the news that the traffic light, at first thought for certain to be red, may have been green. Witness’s accounts conflict.)

“Either way, the guy was going way too fast,”
said Aufdemberg.

Aufdemberg said that police investigators
were looking for a black sedan— an older model Lexus, a Honda Accord or a Toyota Corolla. The car would have a lot of damage to its front end and a smashed windshield. Officers are going to auto repair shops but they are hoping that someone who has seen the vehicle will call in the information.

I hope so too.

“We’re also going through the videos of any of the businesses
in the area in case one of the cameras might have caught the car as it was going down the street,” said Aufdemberg. He admitted the video strategy was a long shot.

“But we might find something.”

I asked Aufdemberg if he had kids. “Yeah, I do,” he said. “So this kind of thing hits close to home.” He paused. “Even if they catch the guy, it’s not going to bring her back. That’s the truth. We’re working hard to catch him. But it won’t make anybody feel better.”

No. Unfortunately it won’t. Nothing will.

*****************************************************************************************************

Anyone with information is asked to call South Traffic at (323) 290-6063

*****************************************************************************************************

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho for the Los Angeles Times

Posted in criminal justice, Life in general | 25 Comments »

25 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    Those poor parents. There can be nothing worse than losing a child.

    It’s too bad that some people oppose the death penalty. The driver and passenger deserve that or worse.

    Now, just to give you my analysis, I suspect that the driver and passenger are male, that they were drunk, which possibly can be supported by people who saw them shortly before, and that they turn out to be (get ready) illegal aliens in a stolen car.

    Celeste, this tragedy should be covered, but you can bet that there are people who are saying that it is being highlighted because the dead girl was white, blond, and pretty. Well, to them, I say “tough.”

  2. Celeste Fremon Says:

    They were male. Try not to blame everything on illegals. I’m betting the car wasn’t stolen at all, that they were just freaked. Most evil turns out to be pathetic when you track it down and face it. If the people who caused great harm and sorrow were usually monsters it would make life easier to understand. But, most often they aren’t. They’re just weak and pathetic and scared—even if what they do is monstrous.

    Yeah, I’m sensitive to the dead white girl phenom. I get tired of some deaths mattering more than others. But the behavior of the driver and his friend made this tragedy somehow seem worse. I don’t know.

    On the other hand, the woman who used to clean my house, a lovely woman, great mom, whom I’d known well for years and considered a good friend, died two years ago when a bus driver blew a light and slammed into her car, killing her in front of her 13-year old daughter, who was in the passenger seat but largely unharmed. The daughter described it all to me because she needed to tell it to somebody. It was terrible. No one in that family will ever be the same.

    And no one anywhere reported it. She was one more Latina whom many would have likely (and wrongly) concluded was illegal. She was a hard working, tax paying, green card carrying, terrific woman and incredibly devoted mother who was working toward citizenship.

    As for the death penalty, that’s just vengeance. While I understand the emotion, it does no one any good, not the victims, not the culture as a whole, not the people we too often wrongly sweep up in our insistence on it.

    But, yes, in my book losing a child is the worst thing ever. My heart breaks in two for Adrianna’s mother.

  3. Woody Says:

    It doesn’t take being drunk or being evil. I’ve spent enough time in St. Petersburg to see plenty of others like this 93-year-old driver. Driver goes 3 miles with lodged body

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Nobody deserves to die that way. Black, White , young or old. A fellow Trojan has lost her life and we should all mourn her loss. I feel for both families as I too have two sons, one who might be a Trojan in a year or so.
    People have to band together to help fight these kind of tragedies. Witnesses need to step up and the culprits need to step forward and actlike men. Not cowards that they are.
    lets give a last “Fight On” in heaven to Adrianna and wish Marcus a speedy and full recovery from all the Trojan Family

  5. john wolcott Says:

    We are all guilty. Everybody in Los Angeles, and elsewhere for that matter, drives dangerously with little regard for pedestrians.

  6. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Agreed Lorenzo. All of it.

  7. Woody Says:

    C: As for the death penalty, that’s just vengeance.

    Well, it insures that the guilty won’t do it again and that others may think twice when they see what happens to murderers. If we want to make an impression on others, bring back public hangings.

  8. 8. Says:

    Ground control to Major Woody. Can you hear me Major Woody? Can you hear me Major Woody?

  9. Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. Says:

    “bring back public hangings”

    Yes Woody, We Must Keep Being Intolerant and Judgemental, Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip Playing the Game (and with a
    Straight Bat). Having Standards Showing Discriminating Tastes. Knowing One’s Place, Giving Foreign Johnnies Some Stick. Looking Down One’s Nose at the Hoi polloi. Deferring to One’s Betters, Noblesse Oblige. Declaiming “O Tempora! O Mores!” Bemoaning the Decline of The West. Fearing God and Honouring the Anglo Saxons. Defending the Aryan Empire, Limiting Suffrage to Men of Means, Condescending to the Fair Sex, Fighting the Red Menace, Applauding Privilege & Elitism & Inequality, And Restoring the Gallows & the Gibbet & the Lash.

  10. Woody Says:

    Hey, Mild Colonial Boy,Esq., you and I should get together sometimes and discuss the good ol’ days. Don’t forget about being a Southern gentleman. I still open doors for ladies, out of respect rather than condecension.

  11. Marilyn Says:

    Some of us will most assuredly feel better when these murderers are caught, convicted and removed from our streets.

    There is more than one driver in Los Angeles, and reading here even, who drives safely and stops for pedestrians (without regard to age, income level and ethnicity).

    Revealing patter here.

  12. Tawny Says:

    Adri was my little sister’s best friend in the sorority. They pledged together at the beginning of this year, talked almost every day, and just got back from a spring break vacation in San Diego.

    Just so it is clear, she is HISPANIC. Her mother is CUBAN.

    Grief strikes hard no matter what race you are, and if there is a possible reason why the media coverage is so strong, it could be in disgust at the behavior of the driver, the fact that it happened at a very high profile university, and also because Adri’s mother stood at those cross streets begging passersby for any information about who killed her daughter. The video is tragic, and if you saw it, you would want to do anything to help the mother cope.

    Drive safe

  13. john wolcott Says:

    Would somebody explain to me the component in most people’s personalities that compel them to want vengeance. Even if these perpetrators are found out it won’t bring back this poor girl or restore this poor young man’s health.

  14. Woody Says:

    To clarify other issues about and despite the tragedy….

    - – -

    I didn’t say anything about race. I suggested that the driver and passenger were illegals. You guys did the stereotyping and assumed the supposed ethnic group.

    Also, when the term Hispanic is used in today’s language, one assumes Mexican based upon overusage and application of that term to them. However, the word can be applied to others, such as Cubans, but then it begins to become misleading. There is quite a difference between the impact of Cuban immigration to this country vs. that of Mexicans.

    - – -

    John, you assume vengence is the motive for supporting capital punishment. Vengence is something sought by individuals. It does not have its basis in law, it is driven by pain and emotion, and it is felt instantly. On the other hand, punishment and prevention are sought by society and upon which the law is based, after extensive and rational debate and votes. In neither case does anyone pretend that it will bring back a victim, which is a false argument.

  15. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Tawny, thank you so much for telling us a little more about Adrianna.

    To tell you the truth, I watched the video three times, and cried each time. Her mother’s pain simply feels unbearable.

    Also, I see that ATV has a nice video about Adri herself.

    I think some crimes get to us more than others. And this one has. I believe we all feel it.

    Take care of your little sister. This is a terrible, terrible thing.

    PS: I was a Pi Phi at USC, as it happens.

  16. reg Says:

    I find it “interesting” that anyone would persist in using posts about tragic deaths (Oakland police officers, a USC coed) to parade their racism. Ugly stuff…

  17. Plaz Says:

    The perps were black. Whenthey’re Mexican it’s mentioned in the report. When they’re Black, we’re told what vehicle to look for

  18. Joe Says:

    That is so terrible! I feel so badly for those kids and their families.

  19. Woody Says:

    “I find it ‘interesting’ that” reg continues to read and respond to my comments after repeatedly saying that he wouldn’t do it anymore and that everyone would be better off for that. It’s also interesting that he uses posts on tragic deaths to spew personal attacks against me. Interesting, but cerainly par for the course.

  20. reg Says:

    Even more interesting is the “It’s me!!!” self-incrimination above, since I didn’t mention the troll’s name (as I said I wouldn’t.)

  21. Woody Says:

    reg, there’s no self-incrimination when the answer is obvious and could only apply to one person. Then, you confirmed it.

    You shouldn’t be reading my comments or commenting on them, even indirectly, despite your thinking that simply leaving off my name somehow skirts your pledge.

    Frankly, reg, look in the mirror. If there is a troll in these parts, it’s you. You can’t let a comment of mine pass without a personal attack on me.

    Do you have a real job besides master fry cook?

  22. WBC Says:

    How tragic. I think people are riveted by this because of the eyewitness(es) who saw the car stop only to have the young man on the hood removed and left on the sidewalk while they sped off.

    Celeste is right, they’re the embodiment of the banality of evil, just scared of going to jail over what they’ve done. Hopefully they’re feeling remorse and fear of being caught right now. They can’t hide the car forever, and if they’ve taken it apart or smuggled it into some clandestine body shop it’ll turn up. (Unless they’re involved in the underworld which has its own body shops to doctor stolen cars… I don’t know if the driver is illegal, but may well be involved in something nefarious. While Woody’s comment does seem jarringly incongruous here, if you look at the LAPD’s Most Wanted Database, the vast majority of those wanted for hit-and-runs are Latino, most of them on the loose because they are foreign nationals who fled south. But Plaz is probably right that two guys speeding around in that hood at night are probably black. Didn’t the eyewitness comment on their appearance?)

    Disconcerting that the light may have been green — reminds us to be extra careful even when we’re “in the right.” At that time of night some may unreasonably assume the streets are clear of pedestrians. However there are areas like that and around the clubs that are full of often tipsy young people don’t pay attention to crosswalk signals.

    Last night three people were struck down at 6:30 p.m. waiting to cross at the corner of La Brea and Fountain, one an older lady on a bicycle, two of them were killed. They allegedly stepped off the curb and were struck when cars involved in an accident lost control. Maybe because they were middle-aged and elderly, and not part of a prominent institution, they didn’t get the same degree of attention. While I understand the special anguish of losing a child, it tends to disturb me that when people pass a certain age, unless they’re famous, people implicitly act like their lives aren’t worth as much, as though they’re “more used up.” Whereas they have spent decades amassing their wisdom and contributing to society, and maybe have their own dreams yet to fulfill, their own kids left behind. Another woman was recently struck on Sepulveda near the Skirball when she got out to inspect her expensive car’s flat tire — they’re among dozens every year in this city who are killed in hit and runs. They could be any of us.

    Can’t believe that after being away for over a month I drop by and reg and woody are still at it on apparently every thread — though glad to hear reg has vowed to ignore woody. I think woody’s heart is in the right place though.

  23. Randy Paul Says:

    I think woody’s heart is in the right place though.

    Far right.

  24. John Says:

    what a horrible and coldblooded crime, i cannot believe this b*****d pushed the bleeding body off the car into an abandonned curb. I also cannot believe there he is allowed to leave on bail. I am taking the guess that one or both supstects are illegals, just wondering: how is Antonio (the illegal alien lover) going to protect his scum this time?

  25. Hannah D W Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, it makes me feel sad that anybody would ever do this. I want to cry right now, I know this happened back in 2009 but I was not aware of it and only stumbled across this now. My heart is with Carmen Bachan and others who knew Adrianna RIP to yet another innocent who was tragically killed

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