Vigilant Solutions announces today that a state law enforcement agency used historical and commercially-available license plate reader data to locate and arrest two suspects in the fatal hit-and-run death of a 9-year-old-girl. Due to sensitivities involved with this case, the agency has requested that identifying details in the case not be released.
A 9-year-old girl was holding her mother’s hand as they crossed the street when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle turning into an intersection and into the path of the girl and her mother. Surveillance video shows the male driver of the vehicle exit the SUV, look at the little girl’s body, and then return to the vehicle and leave the scene.
A spokesperson for the state agency comments, “A general description and partial license plate of the vehicle was provided to our agency from the local police department. Using this information, along with access to the state motor vehicle records, we were able to conduct a search of all vehicles matching these criteria. This information was forwarded over to the local police department working the case.”
“A detective from the local police department advised us of a suspect license plate, which was included in the search results. Using the complete license plate number, we were then able to look into Vigilant’s commercial LPR data as well as LPR data shared from neighboring agencies to provide images of the vehicle for visual verification by the mother and other eyewitnesses.”
“Upon a confirmation that this vehicle did appear to be our suspect vehicle, and using historical license plate reader data, we were able to determine some possible locations for the vehicle. Using this information, the vehicle was successfully located, allowing the investigation to move forward. It was determined that the owner of the vehicle was allegedly a passenger at the time her boyfriend struck and killed the young girl. She had reported her vehicle stolen shortly after the accident, presumably in an effort to disassociate herself from the fatal accident. The driver’s sister reported to the media that her brother was in the country illegally which may be why he panicked and fled the scene. The driver was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and owner of the vehicle was charged with hindering apprehension.”
Brian Shockley, Vice President of Marketing for Vigilant Solutions, adds, “Thank you to all involved in helping solve this tragic case. It is very concerning that despite the many successes of the technology, the fact that the license plate reader data is anonymous, and the fact that a federal law already exists to protect driver’s privacy, that pending legislation in several nearby states – if passed – would prohibit these types of investigations from ever taking place. Some of these proposed laws require the immediate disposal of LPR data unless it is part of an active investigation. These proposed laws also limit law enforcement’s access to lawfully-obtained and commercially available LPR data – data that is helping to solve all types of crimes, locate missing persons, and even exonerate individuals. We applaud the many agencies out there that are sharing success stories like this to help lawmakers and the public understand how LPR is a critical law enforcement tool that improves officer safety and provides for safer communities.”