Answers sought in man's hit-and-run death

November 28, 2010 6:11:48 PM PST
A family is still searching for answers after their loved one was hit on a highway and killed. They're hoping someone can help find the driver. It's been nearly two months since the crash and now with the holidays here, it's tough for the victim's family. They're hoping for some answers.

The crash happened on Highway 249 near Cypresswood.

"I'm not blaming them, because it was an accident, but just to leave him there is the thing, you know?" Dorian Lopez said.

The holidays will never be the same for Lopez and her family. In October, her father-in-law, Santiago Garcia, was killed in an accident on Highway 249. The people who hit him kept driving.

"That's what I think is the worst part, you know, that they didn't have the heart to stop," Lopez said.

Garcia was a soccer fanatic originally from Guatemala. He worked as a cook at IHOP to earn a living. It's how he died that is so gut-wrenching.

And there is only one witness, Jason Abuhmidian said.

"I saw Santiago in the middle lane," he said.

Abuhmidian worked with Garcia for eight years. That night, they left their shift together, and five minutes later would meet again.

"It looked like his car died and he had taken his shirt off and he was waving his shirt, kinda signaling to coming traffic that his car broke and to kinda move away," Abuhmidian said.

Abuhmidian pulled onto the shoulder and walked toward his friend.

"And I was yelling his name. I wanted to get him out of the way and call 911, that way they could come and help," he said.

Before he could pull his friend out of the center lane, an SUV plowed into Garcia's car then right into him, tossing his body.

"It flew like it was an object, so I thought it was a tire or something, so I kept looking for Santiago, yelling his name," Abuhmidian said. "I looked under the car and I couldn't see him."

When he got closer, Abuhmidian saw his friend, dead on the highway. In the darkness, he saw the car swerve, hitting the shoulder twice, but the driver never slowed down.

"I didn't know what to do; do I get in my car and follow them or do I see if I can wake Santiago up?" Abuhmidian said.

He stayed with his friend. But Garcia never woke up.

Now, his grandchildren wear their memories of him on T-shirts. His family is still praying someone will come forward.

"If you know you did something wrong, why don't you just turn yourself in?" Lopez said.

The SUV is described as a gray or champagne-colored Chevy Blazer, possible 1998 or 1999 model. Parts of the vehicle, including a hub cap and part of a bumper, were recovered from the crash scene.

Anyone with information regarding the accident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.


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