Hit-and-run driver injures O.C. firefighter

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. The off-duty firefighter was struck while crossing in a crosswalk at the intersection of South Coast Highway and Brooks Street early Saturday. Police are still searching for the driver.

"He's been on the other side of this for about 15 years now helping others, and now he's at the other end. He has a long road to recovery; it's going to be a slow process," said Barbara Perisin, the victim's mother.

Police say Luke Perisin, a 38-year-old firefighter and paramedic with the Orange County Fire Authority, had left the Sandpiper Bar just before 1 a.m. and was walking in a well-lit crosswalk. The suspect was driving southbound on South Coast Highway when, for some reason, he crossed over into the wrong side of the street and hit Perisin.

Police say Perisin hit the windshield and the impact sent him flying 50 feet.

"He remembers flying in the air, he remembers when the car hit him, he remembers landing on the ground," said Barbara.

His parents say he suffered head injuries and numerous broken bones, including his pelvis, ribs and vertebrae.

"We are shocked that he survived this," said Laguna Police Lt. Jason Kravetz.

Authorities are looking for a white Toyota Prius or Corolla with major front end damage and possibly a busted out windshield.

Perisin's parents are asking for the driver to turn himself in.

"Everybody makes mistakes, and just stand up for what happened and what you did," said the victim's mother.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Laguna Beach police at (949) 497-0359.

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