Know who did this? Neighbor finds clues in hit-run crash that damaged car, memorial shrub

That shrub planted as a tribute to a beloved neighbor – as featured here back in April – has fallen casualty to a hit-run driver who also damaged at least one parked car. That car’s owner has done some investigating and shares both the story of what happened, what was left behind, and what specifically he believes they’re looking for:

The incident occurred near the intersection of 40th Ave SW and SW Juneau St, in the Fairmount Springs neighborhood, likely sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday morning I noticed that the cover on our car (a 1993 Chevrolet Corvette) was torn open in the back.

We initially suspected perhaps vandals cut it open, but upon closer examination we discovered that a vehicle had scraped almost the entire back end of the car, tearing the cover open (there is a lot of missing paint). We thought this was odd since the car was backed up to the curb of the triangular island bounded by 40th, Juneau, and Fauntleroy in a back-in angle parking spot right near the intersection. Looking at the scene in more detail in the daylight we figured out what had happened…

We discovered tire tracks in the grass and dirt across the entire width of the island all the way from 40th/Juneau to Fauntleroy, as well as several car parts scattered across the island. The suspect car apparently clipped our Corvette, jumped the curb, and drove across the island, sidewalk, and bike lane, ending up in the southbound lane of Fauntleroy.

Sadly, I also discovered that a memorial shrub our neighborhood planted on the island in memory of a beloved neighbor, Vern, who many of us knew and who passed away this past March, was run over and destroyed by the driver-side wheels of the suspect vehicle.

I gathered up the parts I found from the suspect vehicle and cleaned them, and fortunately I found enough info on the parts (most importantly, light covers and a piece of the painted body) to determine the make, model, color, and model year of the vehicle, based on researching GM part numbers I found on the parts.

The car is a 1996 Chevrolet Malibu with foglights and is metallic dark gray/charcoal in color. I’ve attached photos of the scene and of the parts, which include the front-right turn signal lens, foglight lens, a piece from the turn signal housing, a piece of the painted body, and some other chunks from the body structure.

After finding the exact part number matches, I looked up photos of 1996 Malibus and sure enough their lights match the ones I found at the scene. I reported the incident to the police and an officer met up with me at our home. I showed him the parts I collected, the damage to our Corvette and cover, and the tire tracks and damage to the island. The SPD Incident # is 14-367713. If anyone happens to see a 1996 Chevrolet Malibu matching this description with considerable damage to the front-passenger side, please contact SPD.

8 Replies to "Know who did this? Neighbor finds clues in hit-run crash that damaged car, memorial shrub"

  • Paula November 3, 2014 (1:36 pm)

    Disgusting, heartbreaking, senseless behavior. People who do things like this do not belong in a civilized society. I fantasize about rounding up these subpar humans and leaving them on a remote island where they can ‘play’ survivor.

  • jwright November 3, 2014 (1:46 pm)

    That was a super cruddy thing that happened but I am seriously impressed by your detective work! Hope it leads to a bust.

  • Scott November 3, 2014 (3:22 pm)

    Since the average person probably doesn’t have a clue what a 96′ Malibu looks like… post a picture of the Malibu with side and front views.

  • KT November 3, 2014 (3:50 pm)

    Impressive police work because SPD would not have done it by all recent news accounts.

  • Disgusted November 3, 2014 (4:14 pm)

    So sorry to see this happen. We also planted a very special plant in a special spot in memory of someone & someone stomped on it & broke it to pieces killing it & also went to another area and stomped on our lavender – killing it. It was obvious as no other plants around were bothered. They take our sprinkler system parts or break them. We hope the people that did the damage to your plant will be caught.

  • JayDee November 3, 2014 (5:46 pm)

    Great detective work. Judging from the site, I suspect that the driver was coming southbound on 40th Avenue, before clipping your car given the lean on the broken bush. (Post if you need any funds for a replacement.) One might go looking locally for the car–40th is not an artery.

    Also, in Google Street View one can see both your ‘Vette (sans cover), and the memorial bush, from July 2014. Da Google knows all.

  • KatherineL November 3, 2014 (6:42 pm)

    Don’t give up on your native current yet. Maybe it’ll come back from the roots in spring. You might check with the West Seattle Nursery for advice before you decide to replace it.

  • Eric November 4, 2014 (3:17 am)

    Probably the saddest part is, even if one found out who did it, found their address and everything, the police would probably do nothing about it

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