The Case of Anthony Dunn, Black postal worker killed by unlicensed driver

Posted in Headlines, Show Notes

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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Anthony Dunn, a resident of Compton, 31, was struck and killed when a driver rear-ended his U.S. Postal Service van while he was on the job in Boyle Heights.

Dunn died after both of his legs were severed.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office determined that motorist Felipe Soto, 59, had not been operating his vehicle negligently Feb. 27 when he reportedly fell asleep and hit Dunn.

Dunn was pinned between the car and his truck, which was parked in the 1100 block of Prado Street.

Soto was operating his car with a revoked license but was not taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

In reviewing the case, the district attorney’s office found that Soto was not speeding or driving under the influence.

Soto has been charged with and will be arraigned April 20 on one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter, of driving with a suspended license, of driving without a valid license and with an infraction of failure to provide proof of insurance—in traffic court.

Betty Pleasant of the Wave Newspaper who has been following Dunn’s story wrote last week that Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace said: My understanding of the incident was that Felipe Soto was an unlicensed driver who killed Mr. Dunn. … I would hope that our office would have looked hard at a charge of at least involuntary manslaughter based on negligent driving.

More Reading

Bottom Line: On the omnibus, picking up where stories left off
Los Angeles Wave Newspapers - Mar 28, 2012

Accident that killed postal worker referred to LA city attorney
Los Angeles Times - ‎Mar 15, 2012‎

Bottom Line: Quest for justice after Black postman is killed in East LA
Los Angeles Wave Newspapers - ‎Mar 14, 2012‎

Contact Information:

Walter Mosley
Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
Attorney for the Dunn Family
9595 Wilshire, Suite 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: (310) 424-5889
Email: info@mejlawfirm.com
Web: http://www.mejlawfirm.com

Carmen Trutanich
Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office
Phone:
(213) 978-8100
Fax: (213) 978-8312
Web: www.atty.lacity.org or
Carmen Trutanich for District Attorney www.carmentrutanich.com/

 

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  1. I agree that this is a horrible traffic accident and tragedy that should never have occurred. No one would have ever imagined that this accident would have resulted in a dead postal worker. My heart goes out to the family of the postal worker, Dunn.

    However, accidents are foreseeable and bound to happen – even a crazy traffic accident like this one where unfortunately someone was killed as a result. Even though the driver’s license was suspended, that still doesn’t make him automatically on the hook criminally.

    The problem is that a person is not necessarily criminally at fault if there is a traffic accident that results in a death, absent some alcohol or drug abuse or mis/use while driving on the road, the guilty mind or “mens rea” required under the law is not always apparent in every traffic accident. It is something that must be proved in a court of law, otherwise it makes most sense for the family to sue the driver civilly.

    If the district attorney prosecuted every unfortunate traffic accident that happened to end in somebody’s death, there would be many people imprisoned right now, at this very moment.

    Again, I know it doesn’t take away from the family’s loss of their loved one but it is just something to think about.

    • Tempting to call it an accident, isn’t it. It’s not an accident however when someone intentionally drives a vehicle after having there license suspended; Its illegal and had Felipe Soto been abiding by the law this absolutely would not have happened, and Mr. Dunn would still be with his family.

      Unfortunately, i believe we are going to see an increase in the number of accidents caused by unlicensed drivers if the LAPD succeeds in removing a major consequence of breaking this law. LAPD leadership is intent on abandoning the policy of impounding vehicles of unlicensed drivers, like Felipe Soto, under the guise of it being unfair to illegal immigrants.

      The facts of the matter, though, are these. According to the CA DMV, 1. A driver with a suspended license is four times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a properly licensed driver. 2. Of all drivers involved in fatal accidents, more than 20 percent are not licensed to drive. 3.of some 20 million driver’s licenses issued to Californians, 720,000 are suspended or revoked. Furthermore, 1,000,000 persons are estimated to be driving without ever having been licensed at all. (V C Section 14607.4 Legislative Findings)

      Finally, if we’re to give Mr Soto the benefit of the doubt, that he really is a responsible citizen who is concerned for the well being of others and who is just unlucky to have been involved in an accident that could have happened to anyone, we certainly should be able to expect Mr Soto to show up for his misdemeanor court hearing. Well today, April 20, it is reported that Mr Soto failed to appear and his whereabouts are unknown. Mr Soto should have been arrested for a felony of causing an accident while operating a vehicle without a valid license. Subsequently, he should have been charge with felony vehicular manslaughter.