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West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies responded to a hit and run accident overnight on Sunset Blvd in the middle of the Sunset Strip that has left a 21 year old woman dead.  The driver fled the scene, however a suspect vehicle was located at about 8:30AM this morning, left running on a residential street about a mile from the scene of the accident.

The alleged driver of the vehicle turned himself in, accompanied by his attorney, at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station on Thursday afternoon and was booked on charges of vehicular manslaughter.

Hit and run victim Lauren Ann Freeman

The accident occurred on Sunset Blvd near Hammond, close to The Roxy and Rainbow music venues, at about 11:50PM.  The suspect vehicle fled the scene and was originally believed to have been a black Lexus SUV before debris at the scene led investigators to conclude that they were seeking a Bentley in connection with the incident.

Multiple reports from witnesses on the scene said the accident was fatal to the female pedestrian, which was later confirmed by the Sheriff.  The woman was possibly walking in the crosswalk, according to Sgt. Chris Tatar of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.  She reportedly flew about 50 feet after being struck by the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A crime scene was almost immediately established through a long section of Sunset Blvd to prepare for an investigation.  The crowds leaving the music venues were being directed around the crime scene via neighboring streets as they exited.  The street was closed for hours during the investigation.  Specialized accident investigators arrived on scene at about 1:15AM.

There were conflicting statements from witnesses about if pedestrians or vehicle traffic had a green light at the time of the accident, but video captured of the incident may aid in that determination. ABC7 reports that the accident was captured on video by an MTA bus that was stopped, and there have been reports of other video that may have captured the accident or those involved.

The suspect vehicle was located at about 8:30AM this morning.  Sheriff’s deputies called crime lab technicians to a scene on Westmount near Rosewood to collect DNA and fingerprint evidence.  Browe Merriweather told us that he walked past the car, parked the wrong way on the dead end street. It had a broken windshield on the drivers side and was swarmed by deputies who were containing the area to preserve it for evidence. KTLA later reported that the Sheriff’s lead investigator confirmed that a suspect car was located.

The suspect vehicle was initially reported as a black Lexus SUV,  and a potential suspect vehicle matching that description was quickly located by deputies around the corner on Hilldale, near the Hustler store.  The vehicle appeared to have some damage that might have been attributed to the accident and the driver was detained by deputies.

UPDATE (5:15PM): KTLA reports that Ryan Bowman, 43, an Australian businessman, has been arrested and was being booked on suspicion of manslaughter after surrendering Thursday afternoon to deputies at the sheriff’s West Hollywood station.  CBS2/KCAL reported he has an address in Venice.  The Los Angeles Times quoted sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore as saying that alcohol likely played an role in the incident and that “Bowman’s attorney contacted us and surrendered client to West Hollywood detectives. He invoked his 5th Amendment rights to self-incrimination and we booked him on [charges of] vehicular manslaughter.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young woman who was killed,” said Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy. “Many of our friends and employees are also deeply saddened by these events and our thoughts are with them as well.”

Adler continued, “We work with our neighboring businesses, The Sunset Strip Business Association and the city to make Sunset Blvd safe for EVERYONE. In all my 37 years of being here at The Roxy, I have seen a lot but nothing like the unthinkable tragedy that happened last night.”

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Pedestrian Killed in Sunset Strip Hit and Run Accident, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

What do you think?

4 Comments

  1. bobby trendy says:

    this is terrible! my thoughts are with her family right now at this delciate time..how could anyone in a car with th eprotection a car have take off after striking an unprotected human being!

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  2. Brian Hamilton says:

    @ Bobby: I just don’t understand it either. It’s frightening to think that someone would just plow over another human being with their car, then take off like nothing happened. We risk our lives every time we cross the street in this town. Too many people are dying in the crosswalks!

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  3. JJ says:

    it is terrible indeed. I live in the area and cross sunset blvd around the sunset plaza on a daily basis and many people do not stop when they see me crossing the street on the crosswalks.

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  4. bobby trendy says:

    I cant stop think about this young lady, well if he is guilty if he is the right person he should recive a setnec of 70 years as she had probably 70 years left to live that he ROBBED her of!

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