Hit-and-run accidents drop in last couple of years

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Hit-and-run accidents happen every day in Yakima. In fact, KIMA learned we see them almost twice a day.

Police arrested a 16-year-old girl Tuesday for DUI after a hit-and-run.

You never want it to happen to you. But it's a risk you take every time you drive: being on the wrong end of a hit-and-run accident.

It happened to Debbie Johnson two years ago.

"It did quite a bit of damage to our truck and so I was very, very frustrated," said Debbie. "So frustrated I couldn't think straight."

Debbie was at a stoplight when her car was rear-ended. She was stunned by what happened next.

"I got eye contact with the individual that hit me, and we sort of agreed non-verbally to pull over. So, I pulled over and he took off," said Debbie.

It happens hundreds of times a year in Yakima alone. KIMA learned the number of hit-and-runs in the city goes up and down every year.

They increased by 27 percent from 2011 to 2012, but then dropped by 16 percent in the last year.

A recent hit-and-run happened on North First and East E Streets. YPD said a 16-year-old driver rammed another and drove away. Police said they tracked her down from the fluid leaking from her car a few blocks away.

Most hit-and-runs happen east of the railroad tracks, north of Yakima Avenue and south of East Race Street. They also happen west of the railroad tracks, east of 24th Avenue and north of Lincoln.

There's nothing YPD can do to prevent hit-and-runs beyond educating the public about the danger and punishment. If you're caught fleeing the scene of an accident, you can be fined or go to jail.

Police eventually found the driver who hit Debbie.

"I was so shocked that I couldn't remember the phone number to 911," said Debbie.

YPD said the victim of Tuesday's hit-and-run was treated for minor injuries at the hospital.