CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Seven months after a hit-and-run accident left him paralyzed while riding his bike, an Imperial Beach man is speaking out for the first time.
Around 5:30 p.m. on October 26, Victor Rodriguez, 48, was headed home from Walmart.
Rodriguez's last memory is making a left turn into the E Street trolley station entrance so he could cut through on the trolley station. A Chula Vista Police spokesperson says Rodriguez was actually struck from behind by a vehicle blocks away — in the 500 block of Flower Street — before it took off. Rodriguez was pushed into a parked car.
“All I remember is being on the street, and a shadow telling me not to move,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was rushed to a hospital. He suffered a severed spine, cracked ribs and a punctured lung. The next day, doctors told him, he was paralyzed from the waist down.
“Just mostly scared and angry, wondering if I'm going to work or not … how I'm going to help my family,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez had worked at NASSCO for the last two years as a pipefitter and welder.
Seven months after the collision, Rodriguez lives with daily nerve pain in his stomach area.
“It’s been stressful and overwhelming … I feel like a burden, to the point my wife helps me do everything … feeling kind of lost for the future,” said Rodriguez.
He says when depression slips in, he leans on his faith.
“Just waiting on God's will to see what he has for me. Everything is just trusting in him, and my faith,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez says because of his faith, he has forgiven the driver.
“My God says to forgive,” said Rodriguez.
But he still wants the driver to be tracked down and arrested.
“I think they should be held accountable. This is not right, leaving a person on the road, not knowing if they are dead of not,” said Rodriguez.
Police say the vehicle is believed to be a maroon Jeep, possibly a Jeep Cherokee. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the Rodriguez family with expenses.