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Father of teen hit, killed by car on Halloween upset after driver gets ‘$145 slap on the wrist’

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- The father of a 14-year-old girl who was hit and killed inside a crosswalk on Halloween says he is upset to learn that the driver involved in the fatal crash is only facing a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, which he said amounts to a $145 fine.

Victoria Hillman, 14, was with two male friends trick-or-treating when the crash occurred around 7:11 p.m. on Halloween in Taylorsville as the trio was crossing in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of 2700 West and 5930 South. Victoria was pronounced dead at the scene.

“They were halfway through a crosswalk, and one of the boys tried to grab her and pull her back because the van did not stop," said Christopher Hillman, Victoria's father. "It plowed through her. She went on top of the van, under the van. There were fingernails on the asphalt, she was trying to get away from the van.”

Roxeanne Vainuku of the West Valley City Police Department confirmed to FOX 13 News Thursday that detectives and city prosecutors had concluded their investigation into the crash and decided to cite the driver with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Hillman claims witnesses reported that driver initially left the scene before returning a short time later.

“From what witnesses say that were right behind her, [the driver] then turned around and said ‘What the hell did I hit?’" Hillman said. "Then she took off. Fifteen minutes later, reportedly, she came back."

West Valley City PD was investigating the case, even though it occurred in Unified Police Department's jurisdiction, because of a potential conflict of interest involving UPD. Hillman said that conflict of interest was due to the fact the driver has a sibling who is a member of UPD.

“And she has a brother that’s on the force, that they’re the ones who showed up to evaluate what had happened," Hillman said. "And a couple of hours later they turned it over to West Valley because there was a conflict of interest. But in that time, I believe something shady went on because she left the scene—I don’t think you should leave the scene—she came back, and the police officer sent her away again within five minutes.”

Vainuku said investigators found that the the driver, 34-year-old Veronica Rodriquez, was 300 feet north of the crosswalk when the teens entered the walk.

Vainuku said Rodriquez had the opportunity to see the teens but for some reason did not. After the driver hit Victoria, Vainuku added Rodriquez drove for about 100 yards before making a U-turn.

Rodriquez wasn't even aware she hit someone, Vainuku said.

Police said there is no evidence of distracted driving or anything to indicate the driver was under the influence.

Hillman said the last few months have been horrible, and he said he has felt like something was off since the beginning.

“I received a phone call that she was dead on the scene," he said. "I went there, they acted really strange about everything. I know they need to keep distance with everybody, but being her father, they just wouldn’t tell me a damn thing. And, it just seemed shady from the beginning and to the end now, where the driver is just being handed a $145 ticket and saying, oh it’s all over after 68 days. It just doesn’t sit well, something’s off. Being that she’s related to the police department that responded and she’s getting off with just a slap on the wrist.”

Shortly after Victoria's death, members of the community called for change at the intersection, which they said was poorly lit and unsafe. 

Hillman said the community, particularly children Victoria's age, have been very supportive and have helped him and his wife cope. He said they have done several activities with Victoria's friends to remember and honor her. But, he said people are disheartened by the latest development.

“The community’s pissed,” he said. “There’s a huge outcry. There’s been people that have attended council meetings, just talking about it. We’re trying to get lights up…. And finally this news that I just relayed to everybody today, I mean, everybody’s like, ‘Seriously? What’s going on? A $145 ticket for the life of a 14-year-old girl?' It’s… nothing makes sense right now.”

Hillman added, "everybody that loved her, cared about her, has to pay the price for life, but you pay 145 dollars.”

Victoria's father said he has a chance to appeal the findings of the investigation, which he said is something they plan to do. He said he is hoping media coverage of the case will help generate some interest and lead to change.

“I’m not a judge, I don’t know, but I would hope that in today’s world that we would have laws that would have a better outcome than $145," he said of what he thinks should happen to the driver who killed his daughter. "Whether that’s losing your license for a year, having to speak to the family of the people, of the daughter that you killed: explain what happened. You know, something. Something more than pay your $145 and walk.”

22 comments

  • Angie Combs

    This lady-Veronica Rodriguez has not even tried to contact the family.She is beyond despicable and better go hide her head in the sand because the loved ones of VICTORIA are no going away!!!!!!

  • John Shock

    Another filthy coverup. There is no justice for those of us, who’s lives have been destroyed by those hiding behind their disgusting badges. Please contact The Freedom Project, Cop Block, etc. This needs to go viral.
    This kind of corruption is destroying our country.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      On June 27, 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, and that included a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation. Her estranged husband had violated a protective order by kidnapping their three young daughters, whom he eventually killed.

      Need help John? Call Cop Block. Maybe they’ll come running to help you.

  • Finny Wiggen

    Yes, let’s hang everyone involved in terrible accidents. Let’s get revenge, and make them suffer!!

    The death of this young lady is a terrible tragedy. It is something the family will never fully get over. It is awful, and I can’t imagine having to deal with it myself as a father. But life happens. Bad things do occur. Let’s not rush to ruin the lives of people, just because they were involved in a terrible accident.

    Just because she has not contacted the family, does not mean she is “despicable.” It could mean she is suffering emotional distress herself, and is doing the best she can to deal with it. Fleeing the scene is certainly a big mistake, but she returned.

    The father claimed that “everyone in the community is p&&&ed.” As a member of the community, I am not. I am grateful that the police proceeded with caution, level-headedness, and common sense. Heaven forbid I am ever in a situation like this. I wouldn’t flee, but I would be completely emotional compromised, and I would act funny.

    Life happens. What side of these happenings you end up on can often be sheer luck. Let’s hope you are never on the side of this lady. Or if you are, let’s hope that the family of those whom you accidentally killed don’t come after you for revenge.

    • Heyoh

      I will have to agree with you. This was an awful tragedy and I can’t imagine the pain the family is going through due to their loss. But should we start giving jail time to everybody that has been the cause of any accident that results in death or critical injury? If that is the case we need to have a better driver’s training program and be more strict as to who gets a license. I could only imagine as well that the driver feels horrible and her basilar instinct kicked in wanting to run from a terrifying situation.

      I would say that the UPD did the right thing in handing it over to a separate agency to investigate. Of course with the recent media blast of law enforcement, trust in local agencies is being skewed due to a few groups of very vocal people. They even said that city prosecutes from were involved in the investigation, not just cops. The alleged corruption would have to be up to that level as well for this to be some sort of conspiracy.

    • Lisa

      I can’t believe that this is your comment to an obvious cover up !!!! Shame on you to downplay someone child being killed !!! I liked to see if these happened to your child if you would have same response.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        A different police agency investigated this accident to avoid a possible conflict of interest. Ultimately it isn’t the police but the prosecutor that decides which charges, if any, are filed. Diffierent courts and different prosecutors in different jurisdictions might have ruled differently.

        No need for the hysterics Lisa. As FINNY WIGGEN noted this was a terrible tragedy, and the father can sue for damages in court. That of course assumes that the driver has deep pockets …… which she doesn’t.

  • finneywiggenlookslikesomethinginmytoilet

    Look at her last name-says it all.She is one of obamas new protected class/and a potential democrat vote.That means you CAN get away with murder.

    • Finny Wiggen

      Actually, I am a man, who is staunchly Republican… not that that is in any way relevant to our discussion. But, I understand your tactic… Try to fit me into a box of your own creation, so that you can then discount my comments without considering their merit…

      • ANOTHERBOB

        I thought you provided a very resonable intelligent comment. The individual with an obsession about toilets and what goes in them wouldn’t understand the difference between murder and negligent homicide if his life depended on it.

      • David

        No they don’t! They can be negligent by messing with their wallet, cd player, cell phone, etc., while driving rather than pulling over. Something was going on in that vehicle. How do you not see 3 people in a crosswalk? Instead of drunk, maybe she was on drugs. Who knows?? Did the Police even have her checked for alcohol and drugs?? Nothing in this story says they did. Makes you wonder!!

  • ANOTHERBOB

    You got a nice load of hate goin for you. Unlike you FINNY WIGGEN presented an intelligent response. And yes, Chris uses the correct term “vehicular manslaughter”. Murder implies premeditation.

    You appear to be full of the stuff you reference in your screen name.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Yes, and maybe to Secret Service, the CIA, the NSA, and the US Supreme Court.
      The funny thing is that you’re probably half serious.

  • Cornelius

    I realize you are terribly distraught by the loss of your daughter’s life, but what amount would make you feel better? Would a $1,000 fine be enough to pay for your daughter’s life? $100,000? $1,000,000? Just because they didn’t give you all of the details of the investigation doesn’t mean they are trying to be shady or underhanded at all. I doubt this lady went out that night hoping to run someone over, and no amount of revenge for her accident is going to bring your daughter back. It’s a tragedy on both sides of the story.

  • David

    I smell some shady business going on here! That young lady, related to a UPD officer or not, should be getting more than a $145 fine. I detect wrong doing and a possible under the table favor here. How do you not see 3 people in a crosswalk? And then drive off, stop, then drive off again…only to return 15 minutes later. Then the officer let’s her leave after a brief conversation. There needs to be an investigation into this matter by an independent investigator. And how does a Judge let someone off with a $145 ticket after a 14 year girl was hit and killed? This case was closed up too fast!!! Justice needs to be served appropriately here….not a miscarriage of justice!!

  • A-Walk

    It is wrong that she was let off so easily. Sounds at least like involuntary manslaughter or something. But he Should still be able to file. Wrongful death suit in civil court to get damages similar to the OJ Simpson case. Good luck sir. Prayers and thoughts your way.

  • Piggysclubofkings

    Typical but even worse is that it now proves you can murder people by running them over …even in a crosswalk so long as you are not on your phone or distracted. So make sure you know but not before it happens. Don’t premeditate it….just focus on driving…

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