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Kansas pedestrian fatality traced to van; no arrests

In a recent incident, a 35-year-old Overland Park woman was killed by a van. However, no one witnessed the accident. Witnesses heard a scream, saw the woman lying in the street and apparently spotted a vehicle headed down the road, away from the alleged hit and run auto accident.

Unfortunately, the victim of the pedestrian crash can offer police no clues, as the woman was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after the late night accident.

Authorities say they found a van in a parking lot not far from where the fatality took place. Interviews have been conducted with the owner of the vehicle and a man who may have been driving the van the night the woman was killed.

The answers investigators have been getting are apparently not clear enough to warrant an arrest. Police have confirmed the parked vehicle was the one that struck the pedestrian. Witnesses are helping detectives piece together the victim's backstory. The woman liked to walk at night, according to residents in the accident area. A broken flashlight was found near the victim's body.

Criminal charges cannot be filed without evidence or a suspect. The person who was behind the wheel of the van fled the accident scene for a reason, perhaps from fear or intoxication. Driving away from an injury accident or fatality and failing to render aid to victims are crimes.

The victim's family - a spouse, children or parents - have a right to seek financial aid for emotional and financial damages. A wrongful death claim could ease the family's plight, but a lawsuit requires a defendant - someone who does not exist at this stage of the law enforcement investigation.

Officials with the Overland Park police have requested the public's help to search out and provide information about the hit-and-run fatality.

Source: kctv5.com, "Vehicle found, no arrests made yet after woman hit, killed in Overland Park," Chris Oberholtz, Sandra Olivas and DeAnn Smith, Oct. 25, 2012

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