Woman, 86, charged with misdemeanor in crash that severely hurt skateboarder

Authorities have decided to charge an 86-year-old woman with a misdemeanor count of hit-and-run after a crash last year that left a skateboarder severely hurt in East Long Beach.

The Long Beach City Prosecutor’s office said Monday that it’s filing the charge accusing Norma Ziegler of driving off after hitting a 21-year-old man who was crossing Bellflower Boulevard at 27th Street on Nov. 27.

Ziegler ran a red light at the intersection, according to a search warrant written by a Long Beach police detective. The crash left the man unconscious and in the intensive care unit, according to the warrant.

The scene after the crash at Bellflower Boulevard and 27th Street on Nov. 27, 2018. Photo by Stephen Carr.

“We consider this an extremely serious case because the injuries suffered by the victim are so great,” City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said. “We all need to make sure our roads are safe.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office considered filing felony charges against Ziegler but decided against it, according to a spokesperson, who declined to explain how prosecutors reached that decision.

In January, the DA’s office referred the case to the city prosecutor’s office, which handles misdemeanors in Long Beach.

Misdemeanor hit-and-runs that cause serious injury carry a jail term of between 90 days and one year in jail unless a judge decides time behind bars is inappropriate, according to the California penal code. The conviction can also come with thousands of dollars in fines.

“Our goal in cases like this is to protect public safety and make sure nothing like this happens again,” Haubert said.

Ziegler has not been arrested. Police decided not to take her into custody when they contacted her shortly after the crash, a department spokeswoman said at the time.

Ziegler admitted she’d been driving the car and cooperated with the investigation, according to police.

A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Ziegler on Monday said she declined to comment.

Long Beach Police take a broken skateboard and a shoe into evidence, at the scene of a crash, where a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Bellflower Boulevard and 27th Street Tuesday. Nov. 27, 2018. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Long Beach police take a broken skateboard and a shoe into evidence. Photo by Stephen Carr.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.
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