Michael Landon's daughter Shawna wants to know why son was fatally struck by bus and left to die in street
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: Late TV star Michael Landon's daughter is looking for answers nearly two months after her 24-year-old son was "left to die on the side of the road" after being struck by a Los Angeles Metro bus.
Shawna said the anguish of her son's tragic death has been worsened by the lack of information and accountability over the incident. The 50-year-old mother, who is one of Landon's nine children, revealed how her son Dylan Lupia was left for dead in Rancho Palos Verdes on August 17 after the driver of the bus allegedly continued on his route after fatally hitting the 24-year-old.
Speaking to Daily Mail, Shawna said the bus driver claimed he did not realize he had struck anyone at the time and instead thought someone had tried to vandalize his vehicle. Seven weeks after the tragedy, Dylan's mother is left with several unanswered questions. "I just want answers. It's all I think about," she said, adding, "How can you not know you just hit a human being? This man didn't even stop to see what happened, nor did he call 911. My son was left to die on the side of the road."
The incident reportedly occurred at 7.30 pm on an isolated road between Terranea Way and Hatano Farms. Dylan lived in Orange County, which is an hour south, and had been walking along the bike lane when the westbound Metro Local 344 bus allegedly hit him out of nowhere. The driver apparently did not stop and continued more than a mile-and-a-half to the next stop on his route, which was at Hawthorn Boulevard and Palos Verdes Boulevard at the Golden Cove Center. He maintained that he let off the only passenger at that stop and then made a call to the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority to report damage.
Dylan's loved ones, however, believe it would have been impossible for the unnamed driver to hit and kill a 6'1'' young man without realizing it -- especially on a clear evening with no obstacles obstructing his view or path. According to Shawna, there are many things about the accident that don't add up and the information has been divulged very slowly. The devastated mother believed Dylan was on his way to visit his late grandmother's house nearby. What's more? Dylan's silver Hyundai with the license plate number 8WHD447 had also gone missing and the family is now appealing to the public to contact authorities if anyone saw the vehicle.
"There are still so many unanswered questions, and as a mother, I will do everything in my power to get answers," Shawna said. "Dylan's wallet was found on him and it still contained his ID, money, and his credit card. However, his car keys and cell phone were missing." She noted that her son's clothes weren't disheveled either considering he had been walking against traffic the way he was supposed to. "I feel he may have been headed to where his 'Meme', my late mother Lynn Landon, lived in Palos Verdes, because Dylan and his grandmother were terribly close. He may have just wanted to see the house he remembers her living in," she added.
It's worth noting that Dylan was the only son of Shawna and her lover Tim Seltzer, the son of David Seltzer who wrote the screenplays for the 1976 blockbuster 'The Omen' and the 1990 action comedy 'Bird on a Wire'.
Landon became a household name throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, owing to his starring roles in TV hits including 'Bonanza', 'Little House on the Prairie', and 'Highway to Heaven'.
"My son was a great kid, but he battled mental health issues," Shawna explained. "When he was 14, he was diagnosed with being on the spectrum and although he was high functioning, he struggled to hold down a job and have healthy relationships. He was living on his own when the accident occurred." Shortly after Dylan was hit, two women traveling in separate cars spotted the young man lying on the ground and stopped to help.
"The first one called 911, but it was too late. The coroner said Dylan died almost instantly, from massive head injuries," the heartbroken mum said. "The second lady who stopped has been really amazing. The woman was traveling with her 12-year-old daughter and they were both deeply disturbed at discovering my son. For weeks the mother tried to find out Dylan's identity and was shocked to discover there was no mention of the accident anywhere. There was an odd story about a goat crossing the road, yet nothing about a 24-year-old man being hit by a city bus."
"For weeks, the woman checked the news and social media, looking for some clue to the boy's identity," Shawna continued. "And it wasn't until she visited the site of the accident and saw a memorial I'd put up for Dylan that included photos and his name, that she was able to track me down through social media. She even took the same bus route that bus 344 took, and asked people on board if they had any information or knew someone who'd been on board at the time, and no one knew anything. When she messaged me and explained who she was, I wept. In a way, it was comforting to know someone cared, and there were two loving moms with him on the side of the road, so he wasn't alone."
Shawna, who lives in Malibu, said she didn't learn of her son's demise until 24 hours after the fact. "On August 18 at 8:30 pm, my two daughters and I were just about to start a movie, when the phone rang. It was the coroner informing me my son was gone and it was devastating. Two days after receiving the heartbreaking news, my sister Leslie and I took a drive to the scene of the accident," she said. "We wanted to see for ourselves if the driver's view might have been obstructed, or what the visibility was at that time of night. But we couldn't see anything that might have caused a problem. For something like this to have happened, there had to be some neglect. There is just no way the driver could have missed a 6'1'' man walking toward him from quite a way, in daylight," she insisted.
The family's lawyer Robert Barta has reportedly requested surveillance footage from all nine cameras that were on board the bus along with all other discovery evidence. "Buses, like planes, also contain a black box, and we want access to that too," she explained. "A person in the coroner's office says they saw the footage and it did appear the bus was speeding – 45 in a 35-mph zone. She also said the bus swerved to the left immediately following impact. And if, like he said, the driver thought someone had thrown a rock or a piece of debris at his vehicle, why didn't he stop to see what he could see? Or at least, slow down and check his rearview mirror. Had he done that, he would have seen my son lying there and he could have called 911."
According to Shawna, the driver of the bus was interviewed briefly but not booked. She also noted that it was protocol and per Metro policy for the driver to provide a witness's name and contact number, but that information was allegedly not submitted. "I'm usually a very private person, but I have to speak out hoping it will help put pressure on the LAPD and Metro to turn over the information we asked for," Shawna said. "My brother Chris Landon helped me find a top attorney, so I can find out just what happened." The embattled mother is now asking the public to contact the authorities or her attorney if they have any information related to the incident. "If there is anyone out there who might have been in that vicinity on the night of August 17, at 7:30 pm, or knows where the passenger/witness might be, we ask you to phone either Detective Schloegl, on 310-891-0515, or my attorney Robert Barta on 310-479-1454. Or you can email Mr. Barta at: [email protected]," Shawna told the Daily Mail. "I won't stop until I get answers," she added.