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Driver Flees in East San Jose after Killing a Passenger in a Single-Vehicle Collision

Hit & Run Accident, East San Jose, CA

Driver Runs after Crashes BMW into a Light Pole, Passenger Dies at the Scene

East San Jose, CA -In a moment that starkly highlights the fragility of life and the suddenness with which tragedy can strike, a serene evening in San Jose was shattered. A vehicle, veering off its path, collided with a power pole, leaving behind a scene that would soon become the center of a heartrending narrative. This incident, occurring in the bustling heart of Silicon Valley, not only draws attention to the critical importance of road safety but also to the devastating impact of a driver’s decision to flee the scene of an accident.

The Incident

On the evening of February 3, 2024, the quiet of East San Jose was disrupted by a tragic event at the intersection of Piedmont Road and Sierra Road. At approximately 5:41 p.m., a white 2006 BMW sedan, navigating northward on Piedmont Road, tragically veered off course. The vehicle’s abrupt departure from the roadway led to a collision with a light pole and a tree, a stark visual against the backdrop of the Piedmont Hills neighborhood’s usual tranquility.

The aftermath of the crash revealed a dire situation; the female passenger of the BMW, later identified as Rosa Magaly Zapata, a 30-year-old resident of Turlock, suffered severe injuries. Despite the prompt response and efforts of emergency services, Zapata’s injuries proved fatal, and she was pronounced dead at a local hospital. This loss marked not only a personal tragedy for her family and friends but also the city’s seventh traffic-related fatality of the year, underscoring a growing concern for road safety in the community.

Compounding the tragedy was the driver’s immediate response to the crash. In a decision that would spark a citywide manhunt and public outcry, the male driver chose to flee the scene, abandoning the critically injured Zapata. This act of leaving the scene of an accident, especially one involving a fatality, highlighted a disturbing disregard for human life and legal responsibilities, setting the stage for an intensive investigation by the San Jose Police Department.

Legal Implications 

The fatal crash in San Jose, where a driver fled the scene after causing a fatal accident, brings to light the severe legal implications of hit-and-run offenses. In California, leaving the scene of an accident without providing aid or information is a criminal offense, especially when the accident results in injury or death. This act not only exacerbates the trauma experienced by the victims and their families but also complicates the legal process of seeking justice and compensation for the losses incurred.

Statistically, hit-and-run accidents represent a significant portion of traffic incidents, with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reporting that hit-and-run crashes have been on the rise, accounting for a substantial number of fatalities annually. This trend underscores the critical need for stringent enforcement of traffic laws and the importance of public education on the legal and moral obligations of drivers involved in accidents. The legal system plays a crucial role in addressing these incidents, with penalties ranging from fines and license suspension to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense and the harm caused.

For victims and their families, navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be daunting, highlighting the importance of legal representation. Car accident attorneys specialize in advocating for the rights of those affected, helping to navigate the complexities of the legal system, and ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve. This includes recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering, all of which are vital for the healing process and financial stability following such traumatic events.

The devastating crash in San Jose serves as a poignant reminder of the unpredictability of life and the profound impact of individual actions on the lives of others. It underscores the critical importance of responsible driving and the dire consequences of hit-and-run incidents. In these moments of tragedy, the value of experienced legal representation cannot be overstated. The Scranton Law Firm, with its deep commitment to justice, expertise in personal injury law, and a compassionate approach, stands ready to support victims and their families during their most challenging times.

For over 50 years, the Scranton Law Firm has been a beacon of hope for those affected by personal injury incidents. Our team’s dedication to securing over $1 billion in recoveries for our clients speaks to our unwavering commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes. Whether it’s a hit-and-run accident in San Jose or any other form of personal injury, our attorneys possess the knowledge, experience, and empathy necessary to navigate the complexities of each case.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit-and-run or any other personal injury incident, we urge you to reach out to us. Let the Scranton Law Firm be your advocate, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation, and take the first step towards recovery and closure.


  1. What should I do immediately after a hit-and-run accident? Ensure your safety, then try to document everything about the incident, including the time, location, and any details about the fleeing vehicle. Contact the police to report the accident and seek medical attention if needed. It’s also advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options.

  2. Can I claim compensation if the hit-and-run driver is not found? Yes, you may still be eligible for compensation through your own insurance policy under uninsured motorist coverage. A personal injury attorney can help navigate these claims and ensure you receive fair compensation.

  3. What are the penalties for a hit-and-run in California? Penalties can range from fines and imprisonment to the suspension of driving privileges, depending on the severity of the incident and whether it resulted in injury or death.

  4. How can a personal injury attorney help in a hit-and-run case? A personal injury attorney can assist by investigating the incident, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and pursuing compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

  5. Is there a statute of limitations for filing a claim after a hit-and-run in California? Yes, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is generally two years from the date of the incident. It’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed within this timeframe.


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Don’t navigate the aftermath of a hit & run accident alone. Let the Scranton Law Firm stand by your side. With over 50 years of experience as personal injury lawyers, we’ve helped thousands recover from their losses. If you or a loved one are affected by an East San Jose hit & run accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Secure your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Call us now for a free consultation – The Scranton Law Firm, your trusted ally in these challenging times. Call 800-707-0707 now.