Basketballer charged over Mallard death
THE teenager charged with the fatal hit-and-run of West Australian man Andrew Mallard on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard is a former high school basketball star.
Kristopher Smith, 19, surrendered to the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood division on Tuesday after widespread media coverage in LA and Australia about Mallard's tragic life and death.
Mr Smith says he did not see Mallard as the Australian walked across busy Sunset Blvd about 1.30am last Thursday.
"I panicked," Mr Smith, a former star shooting guard for Inglewood High School, told LA TV station CBS2.
"I just went home to my mum."
Mallard was well-known in Australia after he was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years for the 1994 death of Perth jeweller Pamela Lawrence.
The 56-year-old's conviction was quashed by the High Court in 2005 and he received a $3.25 million ex gratia payment.
Security camera footage on Sunset Blvd showed what appeared to be a silver sedan striking Mr Mallard.
The car did not slow down and continued east along Sunset Blvd.
Mallard had just visited the Consumers Liquor store on Sunset Blvd to buy cigarettes.
Mr Smith said he was "sorry for the accident" and he felt "sorry for the victim's family".
Mr Smith's lawyer said his client had been out to dinner with friends on the night of the incident, but had not been drinking.
Mr Smith, from the LA suburb of Norwalk, was charged with felony hit and run involving injury or death and had bail set at $US50,000 ($A71,300).
He is scheduled to appear in an LA court on May 14.