L.A. Now

Victim of Boyle Heights hit-and-run was National Guardsman, college student

A 24-year-old man who was fatally struck and dragged 100 feet by a hit-and-run driver in Boyle Heights early Monday was a member of the Army National Guard, his family said.

True Cowan, an Indiana native, was a student who had moved to Los Angeles to finish his degree in computer science, his brother told KCBS-TV. He had attended classes at Cal State Northridge but was no longer enrolled, school officials told the Times.

Cowan had been taking a walk to a store when he was struck and killed by a vehicle.

“I just don’t understand how someone could just leave him in the street like this, like a rag doll,” his brother, Ian Cowan, told the news station.

True Cowan's Linkedin profile identified himself as an automatic rifleman with an enlisted rank of specialist in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment, as well as a former employee of several restaurant chains.

"I enjoy meeting new people often and bring an open mind and positive attitude into everything I pursue," Cowan wrote in his profile summary. 

The family has created a GoFundMe memorial fund to raise money for the costs of burying Cowan with his father in Indiana, according to the website. His father died last week, according to the website.

Cowan was crossing East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue near Chicago Street at about 12:20 a.m. Monday when he was hit by an unknown type of vehicle, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

His body was dragged beneath the vehicle for more than 100 feet before he was dislodged as the driver pulled into a driveway behind a business, police said. The driver backed out of the driveway and fled northbound on Chicago Street, according to the LAPD.  

True Cowan suffered blunt-force-trauma injuries and was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he later died.

The vehicle may have evidence of damage on its left front side and undercarriage, police said. Police do not have a description of the driver, but searched the area for any surveillance cameras that may have recorded the crash.

True Cowan was one of several people to have died in Boyle Heights in recent months from hit-and-run crashes.

Sister Raquel Diaz, a pillar of the Assumption Catholic Church in Boyle Heights for more than 30 years, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in December at Winter Street and Evergreen Avenue. 

In January, Korina Campos, 27, was taking her 5-year-old daughter out of her 1998 Honda Civic, parked on Boyle Avenue, when she was hit by a 2001 Toyota Corolla traveling south, police said. The driver lost control of his vehicle as he tried to turn, hitting Campos and her daughter.  The driver abandoned his vehicle, leaving the mother and child. Campos later died at an area hospital. Her daughter was severely injured.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver.

Police are asking anyone with information about True Cowan's death to contact the LAPD Central Traffic Division at (213) 833-3713 or the division's watch commander at (213) 833-3746. Anonymous tips can be called in to (800) 222-8477.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA

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