Driver sentenced to prison for fatal Echo Park hit-and-run

Christian Donis (left) was killed by a hit-and-run driver

ECHO PARK — A 27-year-old man was sentenced to four years in state prison in connection with a hit-and-run on Alvarado Street last June that left a teen skateboarder dead and his cousin injured.

Sang Won Jung entered no contest pleas to one count each of felony vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run resulting in death or injury and a misdemeanor false report of a crime, the L.A. County District Attorney announced today. Jung was ordered to surrender on April 15 to begin serving his sentence issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Laura Priver.

Jung was driving northbound on Alvarado on the evening of June 12, 2015 when he struck 15-year-old Christian Donis and his 13-year-old cousin Adam near Montrose Street.  Jung fled the scene after the collision. Christian Donis died two days later in a hospital. Adam Donis suffered minor injuries.

On the day after the crash, Jung went to police and said he had loaned his car to someone else who had been in an accident.  “Police went to a body shop where Jung’s car was located and he was arrested shortly thereafter,” according to a District Attorney press release.

The Donis cousins had been skateboarding in the playground of the Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy near the crash site. They left to go home a few blocks away when they were hit, according to friends.

A passerby speaks to friends of Christian Donis as they sat by his sidewalk memorial last year

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  1. Four years is not nearly long enough for this lying murdering scumbag.

  2. Wow 4 years ? That’s it. And with good behavior probably wont even do all 4. Very disappointing to hear that all he got was 4 years. I unfortunately saw the accident and its something I can meet forget . this guy definitely deserves way more. A young child lost his life because he must of been texting or definitely doing something that he wasn’t paying attention to the road ,the truth we will never know but I hope he gets what he deserves in there one way or another. May Christian rest in peace and I hope his family is doing OK.

  3. 4 years hardly seems fair. he will be out and repeating again. DUI offenders should be rehabbed for their illness. Not slapped around and returned to the street. The family of the victim will always be heartbroken. This person needs to come to terms with the pain and suffering he has caused and put it right,

    • I don’t see anything in this story suggesting it was a DUI – but I fault the story for not giving details about it so we can know.

      But that said, you seem to be saying conflicting things — the DUI drivers should go to prison for extremely long terms, but that they should not, they instead should go to rehab or they will repeat.

      Prisons solves nothing. Prison is an anachronism. And people always screaming for long prison terms for everything and anything are psychotic. Lots of people are in prison for things that they really should be sent to the medical system for, such as rehab from alcohol, because they are an alcohol addict.

      And you go sit around in a prison for four years – and then tell me how short a time that was. That is a long time.

      • Really? You should lose a child to a driver who left him to die in the street like a dog , and see how long your lifetime of pain and misery lasts when you lose someone you raised from a baby. A lifetime of tragedy is more of a sentence then 4 years sitting inside a prison cell .
        How can you be so lame?

  4. The epidemic of hit and run in the city is disturbing. What is wrong with us?

    • Cars. Cars are what’s wrong with us. People in this city don’t walk down the street and bump into each other and have to learn how to deal with people face to face. We race around in little anti-social bubbles where we can pretend that nobody else is really a person, just objects in our way.

      • No, it’s not cars. Cars have been around for almost a century and the hit and runs is a relatively new phenomenon. I think it’s more the balkanization of LA – everybody stuck in their own cultural microcosm and making no attempt to be part of the larger community.

        • Are hit and runs really a new phenomenon? Or does it just seem like that because these days every local story is on a blog? Maybe just as many happened in the 80s we just weren’t aware because it didn’t make the nightly news. I don’t know the statistics on this, please share if you do.

          • Really neigbiorino and Kyle? You have to be schooled on this issue? How about distractions like cell phone , gps ,equipment, etc.. The ever so important text or message or social status check .i even see mothers in baby strollers pushing children talking on the phone and not even interacting with them. All this technology and all these distractions were not around in the 80’s. When you got in a car you DROVE , maybe changed the radio , but there were not so many distractions.

          • Of I – you seem to missing the point of this discussion. They’re not discussing why crashes occur. They’re discussing what happens after the crash – specifically, hit and runs.

  5. What a gross miscarriage of justice. Four years?! Forty is not enough. He killed someone, drove off, lied about it. Four years? The families of the boys impacted by these crimes deserve much better.

  6. This ought up the rate of hit and runs in California. Why not? Kill a kid and get a slap on the wrist if you’re caught.. Our justice system is utter SHIT.

  7. If after the initial panic and flight the negligent driver returns to the scene of the crime and turns himself in, I don’t favor slapping multi-decade prison sentences on a person for accidentally killing someone else. However, this guy’s sustained panic resulted in an overdue and lame attempt to avoid responsibility. In that case, 10-15 is a more appropriate sentence. I sometimes suspect that an individual’s presumed lack of ability to survive in prison heavily and unfairly influences the decisions of some judges. This guy definitely benefited from some form of leniency for a fatal hit-and-run that cost a young kid his life.

    • A decent person would actually stop the car, get out and help the kid. Leaving the scene, instead of calling 911 immediately, could mean the difference between life and death.

  8. I’m glad they caught the guy. But can we talk about the street?

    Alvarado runs through a densely populated urban neighborhood w/schools, businesses, houses, etc. And yet, our traffic engineers have designed it to double as a surface highway. I’d hardly call this an “accident”… more like an inevitability.

    We design freeways to be forgiving of driver area (with wide lanes and shoulders, soft hit posts, etc.) because we know there will be accidents. And yet, we don’t apply that very same logic to neighborhood streets… why not?

    We all know these are complicated, shared social spaces where pedestrians cross mid-block, cyclists take the lane, cars parallel park, and on and on. We should anticipate these activities in the design process, and design for safer speeds and community circulation. Instead, we’ve raised the stakes by creating a high speed death trap where the slightest human error result in tragedy.

    Why? It’s been proven you can move traffic very efficiently at ~20-25mph (less chaotic stop-and-go; more of slow-but-steady approach.) And we’re certainly not doing ourselves any favors from a fiscal perspective, treating prime urban real estate like a traffic sewer, instead of a place of enduring value.

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