POMONA (CBSLA) — Herman Avery’s family is frustrated and angry that the man they say killed their loved one — following a hot-and-run crash — is out of jail on bail tonight.
“It just breaks our heart to know he won’t be here anymore,” says Regina Jones, the victim’s niece.
Jones is still shocked and numb over how her uncle died. She says Avery, 76, served in the Air Force, was a retired program analyst at Northrop Grumman, and was most recently a minister.
On October 29, Avery had just parked and was heading to another church he was supposed to visit. Sadly, the last moments of his life were caught on security video. The LAPD says Avery was crossing Western Avenue at 82nd in Inglewood and then a car hit him in the middle of the street. The driver never stopped and Avery was killed.
“You just cry, I mean that’s all we could do, we just cried about it.” said Jones.
The LAPD released a video from a convenience store across the street from the hit-and-run. Police believe the driver parked and went into the store with a little boy. The video showed the man on the phone, as they went to the back of the store and grabbed a soda. Police say the man then brushed the boy’s head and back, possibly brushing off debris from the accident. And then they left.
“I couldn’t believe that he would just go and act like nothing had happened,” said Jones.
Not long after the video was released, and three days after Avery was killed, the driver turned himself into police. But the news was bittersweet for Avery’s family. Shauntrell Darnell Mathews, 41, was arrested for felony hit-and-run but then bailed out a few hours later.
“Who does this kind of stuff, then turns yourself in then bails yourself out?” said Jones. “And then just walks away until your court date?”
The family hope that prosecutors throw the book at Mathews.
“A felony hit-and-run? I mean, this was manslaughter, this was murder.”
Avery will be laid to rest on November 10. Mathews will be back in court on November 22. Avery’s family says they will also be in the courtroom every step of the way.