It was a bizarre, phantasmagoric scene straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. But real.
Here's what went down: A pedestrian was hit by a minivan in Hawthorne and then struck again by a separate driver -- both situations being hit-and-runs. An onlooker who came to help was also hit, but that driver stopped to help only to be beaten and robbed.
It all took place about 9:30 Thursday night in the 11900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard near Hawthorne Airport, according to Hawthorne police.
A white minivan, possibly a late-1990s Ford Windstar, according to what Hawthorn police Sgt. Eric Lane told us, was headed south on Crenshaw when it struck the man and kept going. (And cops are still looking for that van, which they say could have front-end damage).
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Then another vehicle hit the victim and kept going. That car has been impounded, and the driver was questioned, police said.
Then a woman who was running across Crenshaw to help was hit by a third vehicle. That driver stopped to help but was beaten by members of a crowd that had circled the first victim. The man was also robbed of a cell phone.
The man fled and called police from a nearby payphone, cops said. When he returned to the scene he pointed out a suspect police said was involved in the attack.
"Robbed and scared, he calls police from a payphone," Lane said. "He comes back to give a statement and IDs the person who robbed him."
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The original hit-and-run victim, by the way, died at a hospital. The good Samaritan who was hit was hospitalized with "non-life-threatening injuries," police said.
That area of Crenshaw has had some issues, with a previously fatal car-versus-pedestrian accident reported there more than a year ago, Lane said.
Read the press release (PDF).
By the way, if you think you might have spotted that minivan, call police at 310-349-2700.