Police looking for hit and run driver

March 23, 2010 7:19:21 AM PDT
Just feet away and unable to do anything, a man watched as his friend was knocked into the air by a car that hit him in downtown Houston. Now that man's in a hospital with serious injuries. Friday night, after a Rockets game and a drink at a nearby piano bar, Jerry Zabodyn and his two friends were just a couple of intersections away from their vehicles. But when they attempted to cross Polk from Fannin downtown, a black car changed their entire night.

"Oh my God, he is dead. That's what I was thinking," said George Karmukos.

Zabodyn, 57, a deacon at Second Baptist Church in Channelview, was the first to cross. But despite the right of way, a black car hit him head-on, sending him airborne. His friend George Karmukos was walking behind him.

"Jerry did two cartwheels in the air and landed off the car about 40 or 50 yards down the street," Karmukos recalled.

Zabodyn was transported to Ben Taub Hospital in critical condition, where he remains in ICU. He's undergone open heart and abdominal surgery to stop internal bleeding.

His son-in-law Scott Jensen said, "It's horrible. We've been going through a lot trying to deal with this. He is with us one day and he is in a hospital bed unresponsive the next."

Investigators believe they've found what could be the vehicle used. It fits eyewitness accounts of a black sedan. It was found abandoned the following morning just a few streets away on Louisiana in a grocery store parking lot. It now sits at HPD's impound lot awaiting testing.

Meanwhile, Zabodyn's family and friends say accidents are one thing, but speeding off is another.

"The person that hit him has no remorse, they just kept on going," Karmukos said. "I have no respect or sympathy for people like that."

Of course the family and investigators are asking anyone with information to come forward and call police. In the meantime family and friends are coming up with a reward for information.


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