EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It happens nearly every day, and could cost drivers thousands of dollars in repairs.
Wednesday there were three hit and run crashes reported in Eau Claire, and police said finding who's responsible can be a challenge.
While celebrating a friend's birthday Wednesday, Justin Crowe got an unwelcomed surprise.
“As soon as I got done ordering my beer and getting the game of darts going, someone came in saying someone hit my car,” Crowe said.
“I went out side, and realized there was damage done to my car, and the guy was gone.”
With front end damage and alignment off, it's something that likely won't be cheap to fix.
Jerry Salter, owner of Trubilt Collision Center in Eau Claire said he sees about three or four customers a week coming in, not knowing who hit their cars.
“Hit and runs in parking lots are mostly from $300 to $1,000 and it doesn't take much to add up,” Salter said.
“Ninety percent (of hit and run crashes) is probably parking lots, the other 10 percent is on the road, and those are usually late at night,” he said. “It's sad that people can hit them and take off and not have any conscience.”
Fines for a hit and run can be more than $700 and could be a felony under some circumstances.
Police said it happens almost daily but there are things drivers can do to avoid being stuck with the bill.
“Look at your vehicle when you come out of a grocery store or a shopping mall or out of your house for the evening. And take a look at your vehicle, because that's the number one key, is for us to know a timeframe of when that happened, and where that happened. Otherwise it makes it very difficult for us to investigate,” Eau Claire Police Community Relations Officer Kyle Roder said.
“We want people to be accountable for their actions and responsible for those so we can get things taken care of appropriately,” he said.
“Even if you do hit someone and you're in a hurry, at least leave your info. At least do that. If not, police are going to catch up to you,” Crowe said.
Roder said it's important to keep a pen and paper handy to leave a note after an accident, or to write down a license plate number after seeing a crash.