LOS ANGELES - A 16-year-old South Los Angeles boy is making miraculous strides after he nearly died in a gruesome hit-and-run where he was dragged underneath the suspect’s vehicle for a quarter of a mile.
The hit-and-run occurred on the night of August 6 when Roberto Diaz, then 15, had dinner with a friend and decided to stop by a market located near the intersection of East 37th Street and Maple Avenue to purchase a soda.
On the way back from the store, surveillance video showed Diaz mount his bicycle and cross the street in a crosswalk when he was struck. The driver did not stop to help and Diaz became trapped, getting dragged underneath the car.
“I knew I was hurt because I couldn’t move anything… and everything was in pain,” Diaz said.
The friend Diaz was dining with became worried and began to look for him when he discovered Diaz’s bike on the street and called the police.
Diaz was alert when officers arrived at the scene and was able to say a few words, requesting that they contact his mother.
“I’m surprised that he’s still alive… the fact that he’s young gives us hope he’ll pull through,” said Los Angeles Police Department Detective Moses Castillo following the crash.
Castillo also described the crash as one of the most horrific cases he had ever seen.
After being hospitalized for months and undergoing twelve surgeries, Diaz was released from the hospital. Although he has made tremendous progress, his road to recovery remains long and painful, his doctors said.
Diaz has kept a positive attitude and said he is thankful to be alive.
He aspires to join the U.S. Army to serve his country once he graduates, his mother told FOX 11.
The suspect’s vehicle was described as a 2007 or 2008 dark blue Honda Accord or Civic with dark tinted windows.
The suspect remained at large on Tuesday and police were offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the driver who was behind the wheel when Diaz nearly lost his life.
"If the driver or passengers are listening, I urge you to contact me... I want to hear your side, I want to know why you left," Detective Castillo said.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the LAPD.