Family searching for answers after teen hit by dune buggy

Posted at 4:14 PM, Nov 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 21:03:47-05

A Thanksgiving trip to the desert turned into a horrifying accident for a Santee teenager. The teen was hit by a dune buggy and witnesses say the driver left him for dead.

For Jake Carbal, taking a ride on his dirt bike at the sand dunes in Imperial County is a yearly Thanksgiving tradition.

After this year’s trip, Jake hasn’t returned home. Instead, the 15-year-old is laying in a hospital bed in Loma Linda.

“I just remember screaming and having tears running down my face,” said Carbal.

Jake was injured on Friday when a dune buggy crashed into his dirt bike. “I didn't see how I hit it, or where I hit it, or where it hit me, but I just turned back and then I blinked. Next thing I know, my eyes are closed and I'm flying through the air.”

Carbal had to be airlifted to the hospital. Jake’s older sister explained his injuries. “He has seven fractures in his lower spine, two in his pelvis, four broken ribs and a lacerated spleen,” said Nicole Carbal.

Witnesses say the woman who hit Jake took off without stopping to help. Doctors say Jake won’t be able to walk for at least two months.

The Bureau of Land Management is investigating. Jake’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical expenses.