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UPDATED: Hit-and-run charges not filed; man released

Family says local man wrongfully detained after fatal crash; detectives still investigating

Posted: January 12, 2011 10:39 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2011 4:30 a.m.
 

A Stevenson Ranch former child actor arrested Sunday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run collision Saturday night was released without charges Sunday.

His parents said Wednesday the 21-year-old Harvard student was wrongly detained.

Harold Diamond, father of 21-year-old Adrian Diamond, said he hopes detectives work diligently to find the driver responsible for the fatal hit-and-run collision in Van Nuys that killed 77-year-old Earl Biggs.

“The police should be relentless to find the person who did it, and don’t give up,” Harold Diamond said.

“Adrian was wrongfully accused of a crime,” he added. “Adrian was nowhere near the area.”

Los Angeles Police Department detectives, however, stand by their arrest and are continuing their investigation.

“We believe that the person arrested committed a crime,” Detective Bill Bustos said. “Until we get additional leads, we’re still working on this case.”

Prosecutors from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office determined the case would not likely result in a conviction and decided not to press charges, Bustos said.

“The D.A. has to ask, ‘Can we prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed when we present our case to a jury?’” Bustos said. “If they cannot, then they reject it.

“We’re still continuing with this case,” he added. “As far as we’re concerned, the case is open.”

Day in court
Adrian Diamond, a Harvard University senior who has appeared in TV shows such as “The West Wing,” appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys on Monday morning for allegedly fleeing the scene of a fatal hit-and-run crash, which is a felony, authorities said Monday.

He left court a free man with no charges.

Diamond was accused of allegedly striking and killing Biggs at 8 p.m. Saturday, according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.

Diamond was allegedly driving a Ford Thunderbird north on Coldwater Canyon Avenue approaching Sherman Way when he struck Biggs, who was crossing the street midblock.

Biggs, father of local sports broadcaster Jeff Biggs, was taken to a nearby hospital. The elder Biggs later died as a result of his injuries.

Diamond fled the scene of the crash,  but he was arrested six hours later when he drove back to the scene of the crime, according to the statement.

Diamond was arrested at 2 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. He was held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.

Almost seven hours later, Diamond — who missed his flight back to Harvard University, where he was voted one of the 15 most popular people on campus, his father said — was booked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys jail, according to booking information released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Car search
Detectives are looking for the car that hit and killed Biggs and appealing to the public for help.

Bustos described the car as a dark-colored, possibly maroon, Ford Thunderbird made between 1990 and 1995.

“More than likely there’s damage to the front, hood, grill and windshield,” he said.

Anyone who has seen a car matching this description is asked to contact detectives at (818) 644-8021.

Harold Diamond said his son has never driven such a car.

“We don’t own such a car, nor does (Adrian) know anyone who has such a car.”

Aspiring entertainer
Adrian Diamond is an award-winning vocalist and alumni of Hart High School’s Show Choir.

In 2000, he starred as young Simba in “The Lion King” production at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

Ten years later, Diamond joined the Din & Tonics, Harvard’s signature all-male a cappella group.

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