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Hit-and-run hospitalizes Pearl Harbor veteran

January 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The highway patrol is asking for the public's help, hoping a tip will lead them to the hit-and-run driver who crashed into a car driven by an 86-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor. The incident being investigated occurred Thursday at 9:45 a.m. on Palm and De Waide avenues in Hemet.

The driver of a 1998 Honda stolen from a parking lot in Beaumont collided with a Dodge Neon driven by Benjamin Weat a resident of a retirement home in Hemet.

"Both vehicles were disabled at the scene. He did flee the scene, and we have set up a perimeter for several hours looking for the suspect but were unable to locate him," said Scott Beauchene of the California Highway Patrol.

The driver of the Honda may have been injured but he left the accident site on foot. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with short black hair, with a tattoo on the left side of his head and may answer to the name Angel.

Weat is a Navy veteran and survived the attack on the Pearl Harbor. His wife died last year. He is in the intensive care unit at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

"Fractured femur, fractured pelvis, fracture on his neck, and they can't take him to surgery to fix that because they can't stabilize his blood pressure," described Jackie Jernigan, Weat's daughter.

Jernigan had this message for the missing suspect.

"I don't know if you are aware how much damage you've done. This is an 86-year-old man, and I don't think he can survive these injuries," she said.

Anyone with information on this hit-and-run suspect is asked to call the California Highway Patrol at (760) 772-8900.