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Scary video: Car hits man, no one helps

June 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a frightening event caught on video, an elderly Connecticut man was struck by a car and was left lying in the street. What's worse is that vehicles continued to drive past the man, with no one stopping to help.Surveillance video shows 78-year-old Angel Torres being struck by a car in Hartford. The video shows that no one walking by on the sidewalk, or driving past on the street, tried to help the victim. However, Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts appeared at a news conference on Thursday in which they said four people dialed 911 within a minute of the accident.

Police arrived to the scene shortly after the hit-and-run while responding to an unrelated call. The man was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment.

The video has been enhanced by the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory. An older model tan Toyota may have been chased by a blue or black older model Honda. Police say the cars ran a red light and crossed a center line before hitting the man.

Police are asking for the public's help in solving the crime.

Torres remains in critical condition and is paralyzed from the neck down.

The chilling scene - captured on video by a streetlight surveillance camera - has touched off a round of soul-searching in Hartford, with the capital city's biggest newspaper blaring "SO INHUMANE" on the front page and the police chief lamenting: "We no longer have a moral compass."

Pedestrians gawk but appear to do nothing. One driver stops briefly but then pulls back into traffic. A man on a scooter slowly circles the victim before zipping away.

The hit-and-run took place in daylight last Friday at about 5:45 p.m. in a working-class neighborhood close to downtown in this city of 125,000.

In the video, Torres, a retired fork-lift operator, walks in the two-way street just blocks from the state Capitol after buying milk at a grocery. A tan Toyota and a dark Honda that is apparently chasing it veer across the center line, and Torres is struck by the Honda. Both cars then dart down a side street.

Nine cars pass Torres as a few people stare from the sidewalk. Some approach Torres, but most stay put until a police cruiser responding to an unrelated call arrives on the scene after about a minute and a half.

"Like a dog they left him there," said a disgusted Jose Cordero, 37, who was with friends Thursday not far from where Torres was struck. Robert Luna, who works at a store nearby, said: "Nobody did nothing."

One witness, Bryant Hayre, told the Courant he didn't feel comfortable helping Torres, who he said was bleeding and conscious.

The accident - and bystanders' apparent callousness - dominated morning radio talk shows.

"It was one of the most despicable things I've seen by one human being to another," the Rev. Henry Brown, a community activist, said in an interview. "I don't understand the mind-set anymore. It's kind of mind-boggling. We're supposed to help each other. You see somebody fall, you want to offer a helping hand."

The victim's son, Angel Arce, begged the public for help in finding the driver. "My father is fighting for his life," he said.

The hit-and-run is the second violent crime to shock Hartford this week. On Monday, former Deputy Mayor Nicholas Carbone, 71, was beaten and robbed while walking to breakfast. He remains hospitalized and faces brain surgery.

"There was a time they would have helped that man across the street. Now they mug and assault him," police chief said. "Anything goes."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

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