To the editor: I was appalled to read what happened after bicyclist Paul Livingston was struck by motorist Victoria Chin. ("Hit-and-runs between cars and bikes on the rise in L.A.," Nov. 29)
Livingston's injuries left him in a coma for six days and hospitalized for a month, with his body disfigured for life. Chin's felony conviction for hit-and-run netted her a sentence of 120 days, but jail overcrowding cut her actual custody time to just two days (which routinely is the credit given to inmates for a nighttime surrender followed mere hours later by a morning release).
Sure, governmental entities save money by not expanding jail and prison capacities. But law-abiding citizens like Livingston are paying a steep price.
Don't expect hit-and-runs to decline unless and until the punishment is made to fit the crime.
Christine Hagel, Orcutt, Calif.
To the editor: One unfortunate aspect of immigration law is that many undocumented Americans who may be unlicensed are fearful and distrustful of police and other authorities. A significant number of hit-and-runs are directly related to this population.
In the name of safety, perhaps law enforcement — both local and federal — should guarantee to drivers who don't have immigration papers that they will not be deported if they are involved in an accident and appropriately call 911 as well as assist the injured to the best of their abilities.
Howard C. Mandel, Los Angeles