FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles, CA, January 31, 2020 – A Pepperdine student in Los Angeles is seeking justice for the death of her mother. This is after the woman who was responsible got one-year sentencing in jail. Yijing Chen, the student, and her mom were slammed by a pickup truck. The vehicle ran over Chen’s mother who had visited her daughter at Pepperdine University. Chen suffered a fractured leg from the accident.
The collision occurred when the Defendant, driving a 2015 Chevy Silverado, made a right turn from Las Virgenes onto the 101 Northbound onramp. At the same time, Yijing Chen (26) and her mother Hong Fen Shen (53) were crossing the onramp in a marked crosswalk. The Defendant’s truck struck the bodies and drove over both Chen and Shen. However, the events that followed next are what Chen cannot shake off. After the collision, the Defendant approached the dying body of Hong Fen Shen. At that time she was unconscious but moaning and gurgling. Inexplicably, the Defendant grabbed Hong Fen Shen by one arm and began dragging her to the curb, with violent jerks. While Yijing Chen was begging her to stop and call 9-1-1, the Defendant ignored the pleas, got back into her pickup truck and backed it off the highway, and parked it on the side of the road. Then when the California Highway Patrol arrived she claimed she was just an innocent passerby, who was driving straight and just heard two women screaming in the road. She claimed she was a Good Samaritan who was coming to the aid of the injured women.
The Defendant would have been able to get away with it if it were not for the CHP investigation. After investigating for one year, the driver was identified as Nicole Herschel, and some severe charges were recommended including hit-and-run, felony, misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, and evidence tampering. There is a problem since the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office only filed one charge of a misdemeanor; vehicular manslaughter. The offense attracts a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. Herschel originally pleaded innocent for that charge but was eventually convicted of vehicular manslaughter.
The civil trial regarding this horrible car crash resulted in the death of Hong Fen Shen concluded today, in Los Angeles Superior Court in the Van Nuys Branch on the 4th Floor, before Honorable Judge Minning.
Chen remained frustrated after the prosecutors’ decision to not charge Herschel for the hit and run violations. She hired El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers and is now demanding civil action against the driver. “I cannot just sit and wait. She pretended to be innocent, lied to the police, so why is this not a crime?” Chen said.
CHP’s report noted that Herschel had not taken alcohol or drugs prior to the accident. She was not using a cell phone either, something that legal experts believe makes this case a tough call. All these factors, though, could lead to more severe charges.
According to Michael Aguirre, who was once a federal prosecutor and now an attorney in San Diego City, running over someone visiting their child at one of the finest universities around and failing to do everything you can to make sure they are attended to as well as lying to the police calls for a stronger charge than a misdemeanor. “That is not the message that should reach the DA’s office,” Aguirre said.
A CHP spokesman made it clear that the agency was standing by its recommendations and declined to give further insight into the decision-making process of the prosecutor. However, Ricardo Santiago, a district attorney office spokesman, released a statement that the plaintiff led by El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers had a water-tight case going by the law enforcement agency’s evidence.
El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers discovered evidence pointing that Herschel was at fault in more than two instances. According to one officer, Herschel said her car did not hit Chen or her mother. However, a few days later, authorities seized her car only to find out that the marks along the frame were similar to those of Chen’s mother’s footwear. Also, the tread of Herschel’s Chevy Silverado matched tire marks on the jeans of the deceased. Herschel also said she had called 911 after the incident, but reports claim otherwise. Chen now wants justice and is calling upon communities to sign her White House Petition in a bid to change the verdict.
The jury found that Herschel, to pay $18,000,000 in compensatory damages for causing physical injuries to Chen and for the wrongful death of her mother. The case was tried by Jonathan Ritter of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers in Los Angeles, and Joshua Ritter of Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP.; Kimberly Oberrecht, of Horton, Oberrecht, Kirkpatrick & Martha defended the case.
For more information, please call Edmond El Dabe or Jonathan Ritter at 213-985-1120, or go to www.personalinjurylawyerslosangeles.com/
Sherif Edmond El Dabe
1150 S Olive St #1300, Los Angeles, CA 90015