Man Saves Wife, Son Before Being Killed in Hit-and-Run

Los Angeles police search for driver who struck Jemmy Chavarria in crosswalk
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2022 5:25 PM CST
Police Search for Driver Who Killed Heroic Husband, Father
A crosswalk in Venice, Calif.   (Getty/tenmay)

(Newser) – Angelica Chavarria has lost her husband, her son Zion has lost his father, and—a member of the Los Angeles City Council said—the community has "lost a superdad." Jemmy Chavarria, 42, was killed Feb. 26 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while the family crossed a street going to church, the Los Angeles Times reports. Before a car came through the crosswalk, Jemmy Chavarria was able to push his wife out of the way and throw Zion, 2, to safety, police said. A search is underway for the driver, and a $50,000 reward has been offered.

A crossing guard was escorting the family across the street, and lights were flashing on the south Los Angeles crosswalk at the time. Still, Angelica Chavarria said, the driver didn't try to stop. At a press conference, Chavarria said that she forgives the driver but that she and Zion miss her husband. "You took his daddy away from him," she told the driver while sobbing. "You have to pay for what you did," she said.

A police detective called the actions of Chavarria, who died later at a hospital, "an amazing act of heroism." Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the area on the City Council, praised him as a "superdad," per the Times. "He was taken from us by a careless, a reckless and a criminal driver," Harris-Dawson said, "who disregarded all of the measures that were put in place to keep people safe." Police said other drivers stopped for the family, but the one who hit Chavarria had gone into oncoming lanes to go around traffic. (Read more hit and run stories.)

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