Cyclist nearly paralyzed in Encinitas hit-and-run crash recovering; search is on for driver

Posted at 6:35 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 21:35:33-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. - An effort is underway to find the hit-and-run driver who plowed into a local cyclist, leaving him nearly paralyzed.

"How did I survive it? My bike is in pieces," said John Abate.

That's the big question for Abate. His bike was no match for the SUV that crashed into him on Aug. 14.

He still remembers the impact, saying, "I was going between a tree and a rock and luckily, I didn't hit either one of them."

Abate said he and his friend were riding in the bike lane on Leucadia Boulevard in Encinitas. For Abate, the ride ended with a compound leg fracture, fractured spine and broken ribs.

Abate was thrown 25 to 30 feet, and he believes his helmet likely saved his life.

"You never would've thought somebody would hit you from behind and take off. It's just unfathomable. I can't fathom why somebody would feel the need to leave," he said.

The driver who hit him stopped up the road and then left the scene. Abate is hoping someone out there knows something.

"I would say to them: Please come forward," said Abate. "Take responsibility for the actions you have done. It will go a long way to help with my recovery, spread awareness, because this isn't over for me."

In the meantime, Abate has been receiving flowers, balloons and get well wishes. Doctors said he should make a full recovery.

The only description for the hit-and-run driver's vehicle is a white SUV. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

A GoFundMe page has been launched to help raise reward money for information leading to an arrest.