Oakland police sought help finding a driver who killed a man in a hit-and-run incident in Downtown Oakland last week.
According to the police report, the tragic incident happened at the intersection of the 14th and Jefferson streets around 8:30 p.m. on June 16.
The victim, identified as Dmitry Putilov, was crossing the intersection with his two children when a car traveling at high speed struck him. The driver did not stop and was last seen traveling westbound towards Interstate 980.
Putilov was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. His children were not physically injured, police said.
At a news briefing on Thursday afternoon, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said Putilov and his children were deaf.
“Him being deaf I am sure he could not have heard, obviously the speed at which that vehicle was traveling. His children are also deaf and so they also were unaware of the vehicle and the high rate of speed it was traveling,” Armstrong said.
The chief went on to say, “It was safe for these people to bicycle, despite them being deaf. This was an issue of someone’s callousness and someone’s disregard for human life and driving at a speed that is inappropriate anywhere in our city.”
Armstrong strongly urged the driver to turn themselves in.
“For the person who was driving that car, that you have caused a tremendous hurt and harm to this family and to this community,” Armstrong said. “We cannot think that this is okay, this is tragic. For two children to see this happening is devastating for all of us.”
According to Armstrong, Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area have seen a rise in traffic fatalities. So far this year, Oakland has had 19 fatal traffic collisions.
Putilov was killed just days before the Street Safety Project was approved. The project would repave the street, remove one lane of traffic in each direction, separate bike lanes from vehicle lanes, and improve pedestrian safety.
Oakland City Council member Sheng Thao posted on social media to offer sympathy to the victim’s loved ones and urge action on street improvements.
“The death on 14th street was entirely preventable and speaks to the urgent need for projects like this,” Thao said on Twitter. “Nobody should fear for their lives while walking, biking, or driving on our streets.”
Police describe the suspect’s vehicle as a black 4-door Infiniti, believed to have major front-end damage from the collision.
The Oakland Police and CrimeStoppers of Oakland offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information on the suspect. Anyone with information can call the department’s Traffic Investigation Unit at 510-777-8570.