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Driver sought in hit-and-run that killed cyclist in Downtown Oakland

CBS SF Bay Area logo CBS SF Bay Area 2 days ago CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND – Police in Oakland are asking for help in finding a driver suspected in a fatal hit-and-run that killed a man bicycling with his children in the city's downtown last week.

According to officers, the hit-and-run took place at the intersection of 14th and Jefferson streets around 8:30 p.m. on June 16.

Officers said the victim, identified as Dmitry Putilov, was attempting to cross the intersection with his two children when a driver traveling at a high rate of speed struck Putilov. The driver did not stop and was last seen traveling westbound towards Interstate 980.

Putilov was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, police said. The victim's children were not physically injured.

Surveillance footage of a fatal hit-and-run that killed Dmitry Putilov at the intersection of 14th and Jefferson streets in Downtown Oakland on June 16, 2022. Oakland Police Department © Provided by CBS SF Bay Area Surveillance footage of a fatal hit-and-run that killed Dmitry Putilov at the intersection of 14th and Jefferson streets in Downtown Oakland on June 16, 2022. Oakland Police Department

At a news briefing Thursday afternoon, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said Putilov and his children were deaf.

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"Him being deaf I am sure he could not have heard, obviously the speed at which that vehicle was traveling. His children are also deaf and so they also were unaware of the vehicle and the high rate of speed it was traveling," Armstrong said.

The chief went on to say, "It was safe for these people to bicycle, despite them being deaf. This was an issue of someone's callousness and someone's disregard for human life and driving at a speed that is inappropriate anywhere in our city."

Armstrong also urged the driver to turn themselves in.

"For the person who was driving that car, that you have caused a tremendous hurt and harm to this family and to this community," Armstrong said. "We cannot think that this is okay, this is tragic. For two children to see this happening is devastating for all of us."

Along with other parts of the Bay Area, Oakland is seeing a rise in traffic fatalities. According to Armstrong, Oakland has had 19 fatal traffic collisions so far this year, compared to 13 this time last year.

For Imani Greer, the video of the fatal hit and run is something he can't get out of his mind. The collision happened right by his restaurant, Roasted and Raw.

"Just devastating. Two boys, thank God they are alive and they are okay, but just to sit there and watch their dad lay in the street is just a heartbreaking story," Greer told KPIX 5. "I'm a father myself and just to imagine taking your sons for a bike ride and not coming home."

Putilov was killed just days before the City Council decided on the 14th Street Safety Project, which would repave the street, remove one lane of traffic in each direction, physically separate bikes lanes from vehicle lanes and make some pedestrian safety improvements, among other things.

On the day after the hit-and-run, Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao took to social media to offer sympathy to the man's loved ones and to urge action on street improvements.

"The death on 14th street was entirely preventable and speaks to the urgent need for projects like this," Thao said on Twitter. "Nobody should fear for their lives while walking, biking, or driving on our streets."

Earlier this week, the council approved the project.

Police describe the suspect's vehicle as a black 4-door Infiniti, which is believed to have significant front-end damage from the collision. 

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered by Oakland Police and CrimeStoppers of Oakland for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the department's Traffic Investigation Unit at 510-777-8570.

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