Boyle Heights hit-and-run: Father of 5 struggles with pain as LAPD asks for public's help

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police are looking for the public's help finding a hit-and-run driver who struck and severely injured a bicyclist in Boyle Heights.

The collision happened Aug. 22 on Whittier Boulevard near Calzona Street around 10:20 p.m.

Video shows a white pickup truck driving on the left side of the road in the direction of oncoming traffic and right into the path of a bicyclist. The truck smashes head-on into the bicyclist and immediately flees the scene.

The victim, Gabriel Lopez, spoke to Eyewitness News Monday, saying he continues to suffer a lot of pain from the collision.

He remembers seeing the white truck driving fast and losing control as it crossed into oncoming traffic - and slamming right into him.

"It was so fast, so quick that I cannot do anything," he said.

He spent three days in the hospital, suffering a broken vertebrae and a blood clot. He's grateful he can still walk, though he needs the assistance of a walker and still wears a brace.

One witness said after he saw the collision, he thought the bicyclist had been killed. He called 911 and ran over to help Lopez.

"I thought he was deceased at one point," said the witness, Art. "We kept him alive, we kept him breathing, we kept him not closing his eyes."

Lopez is a father of five and was taking his bicycle to work that night.

He works in construction and doesn't expect to be able to return to work for at least a month and a half.
Now he's just hoping the driver will be caught and brought to justice.

"What he did is wrong," Lopez said. "I want him to pay for what he did. I'm not talking about money. I'm talking about to realize what he did. He hit and run. That's not right."

The vehicle is described as a white 2011-2018 Chevrolet/GMC full-size pickup truck. It has a red front bumper, lower valance air deflector, black rims and a black bed cover. It also may have a custom white rear bumper and possible aftermarket headlamps and tail lamps.

It also now has front-end damage.

The city has a reward program that offers up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of a hit-and-run driver.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD Central Traffic Division at (213) 833-3713, Detective Juan Campos (213)486-0755, or email 31480@LAPD.online. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anonymous information can be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Additional video of the incident is available here from the LAPD. Warning: Footage depicts moment of impact and may be disturbing to some.
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