Family wants justice for man's death

October 26, 2009 3:36:22 PM PDT
A family is suffering heartbreak after the death of a man they loved. He died just hours after a hit and run accident, and now the family wants more serious charges against the person accused of leaving the scene. The family thinks the driver should be charged with more than just a misdemeanor. The daughter of the man who died after that hit and run accident says the lives of family members will never be the same. They believe justice begins with prosecutors taking a tougher stand.

Two months before Christmas, Patsy Sieber has decorations out because that's what her father Raymond Lipinsky always loved.

"He had just had a birthday, because his death was on July 28," she said.

Sieber saw her father's final hours when he died in July. She was in the car with him on Highway 290 near Hollister when they were rear-ended and then hit a second time by the same pickup truck.

Sieber recalled, "I'm like, 'What the heck?' You know? And then the next thing, a couple of minutes later, not even a minute, boom, another one."

Sieber says her father got out to see what happened. He climbed onto the sideboard of the pickup truck that had struck them. Then that driver took off.

"He fought so hard to live, and then, just to die like this," Sieber said. "It's not right. Nobody should have to die like that."

The Harris County DA's office is charging the driver of that pickup truck, Ronald Eckmann, 49, with misdemeanor failure to stop and give information.

Donna Hawkins with the DA's office explained, "There is a possibility that the charge against Mr. Eckmann could be increased to a felony charge."

The DA's office says there are difficult factors, including Lipinsky's cause of death.

"A full autopsy report has not been done," Hawkins explained. "It is determined that he died from a heart attack. That's one of the factors we have to look at in considering the appropriate criminal charge."

Sieber believes there should be more.

"Definitely," she said. "I thought that the guy murdered my daddy. His truck was a weapon. It was bigger than the car we were in."

There is a warrant out for the arrest of Ronald Eckmann. The DA's office tells Eyewitness News that a panel of 13 senior prosecutors is currently reviewing this case.

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