$50,000 Reward Offered in Hit-and-Run Death of College Student in Tarzana

Two vehicles struck Thomas Robert Price about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 2, as he crossed Reseda Boulevard at Bessemer Street.

Councilman Dennis Zine and Los Angeles Police Department detectives Friday announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the hit-run drivers who killed a 22-year-old college student walking home after a night out with friends.

Two vehicles struck Thomas Robert Price about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 2, as he crossed Reseda Boulevard at Bessemer Street in Tarzana, police officials said. Price died later at a local hospital.

Price's mother, grandparents and extended family spoke at a news conference and council presentation Friday to urge the public to come forward with leads.

They described Price as an aspiring firefighter, a few courses shy of completing his studies, who not only wanted to follow in the steps of his grandfather, a retired Ventura County fire captain.

"He was my entire life. It was just me and him... he was everything to me," said April Price, a single mother who said her son "worked part-time ... helped me out," even as he attended college full time to complete a fire tech program.

She found it "very disturbing" that neither car that hit him stopped to help.

Police said cameras caught the first car, a dark gray, late 1990s model SUV with a 4- to 5-inch lift kit, speeding away after hitting Price. Another car, a compact passenger vehicle, hit him less than a minute later and also didn't stop.

Detective William Bustos said they have run out of leads and are depending on the public for help. The cameras also showed other cars driving past Price as he was lying on the ground, and he asked that anyone who may have been there at the time to also come forward.

Zine, who helped secure the reward money, said there should be damage to the vehicles, and that body shops should pay attention to the cars coming in for repairs.

Sandy "Nonny" Price said her grandson loved meeting and taking to people, and for that reason enjoyed taking the Los Angeles public transportation system. He had a philosophy to "never judge a book by its cover," she said.

April Price described her son as a kind-hearted person who once switched out the mouse traps around his work place, replacing them with caps of water and crackers instead, saying he carried the same spirit into his goal of becoming a firefighter and help people.

"He wanted to 'be there at the worst possible time of their lives when they needed someone the most,' and those were my son's words from one of his essays," she said.


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