WEST HOLLYWOOD—On May 19, a young man was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run accident while he had been parking cars for customers at a West Hollywood restaurant.
The accident occurred near an eatery located on North La Cienega Boulevard at Melrose Place, where 22-year-old Benjamin Zelman had been working as a valet for Koi restaurant. At around 10:45 p.m., a motorist driving a yellow Volkswagen Bug ran over Zelman and fled the scene; he was left critically injured in the middle of the road. Zelman was transported to a hospital, where he reportedly remains in a coma.
“He’s in serious condition,” Det. Hutchins, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division’s West Traffic reported to Canyon News. “He’s now on life support at Cedar Sinai Hospital.”
Hutchins further reported that the suspect, who the victim’s mother had initially offered the public a $10,000 reward for any information that would lead to the suspect’s arrest and conviction, has currently been arrested.
“We were able to find him, and he was taken into custody and booked intothe police headquarters Downtown,” Det. Hutchins said. Hutchins states that the suspect’s identity is not being released at the moment.
When asked by Canyon News for tips on how witnesses of a hit-and-run incident can respond if they want to help the victim without endangering their own safety, Hutchins stated, “Always call 911 if you witness any crime. It helps to write down the license plate number and to get a description of the driver and the vehicle and any other actions of the driver prior to the hit-and-run; but you should never follow or chase the suspect because you never know who it was who did this. While we’d like you to do what you can to help the victim and the investigation you should never compromise your own safety. Personal safety should always be a priority.”
Anyone who has any tips or information on the suspect may contact police at 213-473-0222 or e-mail Detective Hutchings at firstname.lastname@example.org.