Man in Wheelchair Killed in Long Beach Hit-and-Run

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) -diaz-bg- A man in a wheelchair was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street in Long Beach, and the tragic crime was caught on tape.

55-year-old Robert Diaz broke his spine in a fall in 1985 and was confined to a wheelchair, but he never let that slow him down or get him down, his family said.

“He was very witty, very funny, outgoing,” his son, Jason Diaz, said. “He could poke jokes at anybody. He could make fun of you, make fun of himself. He remained very optimistic.”

This past Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Diaz was attempting to cross Artesia Boulevard at Rose Avenue.

As Diaz was in the crosswalk, he was hit by a speeding driver. With Diaz clearly seriously hurt, it looked as if the driver was going to do the right thing and stop.

“The driver of the vehicle pulled around the corner and stopped… got out as if he was going to come back to the scene,” said Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Eaton.

“When officers who were in the area went to check on that particular driver, he fled and left,” Eaton said.

The car is described as a silver, four-door sedan, possibly a Honda Civic or a Nissan Altima with front end damage.

Diaz was rushed to a nearby hospital, but his injuries were too severe and he died on Monday.

The Diaz family is now pleading for the public’s help bringing the hit-and-run driver to justice.

“We know that my dad is in a much better place, and he’s out and about walking, playing football, doing all the things he used to do,” Jason Diaz said.

“He’s in a better place, but down here we still need justice, and this guy needs to be held accountable for what he did,” he added.

The driver is described as a Latino man in his 30s, about six feet tall and 190 pounds with black hair.

He was wearing a white shirt and jeans at the time of the accident. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach police.

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15 comments

  • Stella Calderon

    It was extremely hard hearing about this on the news. Robert was a good friend of my brother Gilbert that passed away in 2006. Our family meet Robert when they started playing pop warner football and attended junior hs together. If there is anyway to provide funeral information, we would greatly appreciate it. thank you

    • Rachelle Bernal

      Hello Stella,

      I am niece to Robert . We do not have any confirmation on the funeral services, but they should be sometime next week towards the end of the work week. All services and funeral will be at Rose Hills in Whitter. I will keep you posted once I get word.

    • Ernest Dominguez

      If the body is released on time, the service and burial are scheduled at Rose Hills on Friday, 12/21/12 at 10:am. Don't know if there will be a wake or viewing at this time. FYI, I am a friend of Robert's since his high school days and beyond.

      Sincerely,

      Ernie Dominguez

  • SicknTired

    Where is "Aragamme blah blah blaha" with a comment on this article?

    This good man tragically lost his life because of a coward and deserves justice.

  • SicknTired

    There you are but with yet another screen name. Not sure your usual comment inference fits in this case though. Happy trolling.

  • Lisa

    Sorry for your lost if anyone knows anything call the police this needs to stop everytime I go on my phone there is some getting hit by hit run driver who did this man up and take your responsible other words take your Punishment. Again to the family sorry for your lost

  • Vicky Macias

    To Jason Diaz, tia Vicky, So ,so sorry for your lost mijo. May God give you the peace that surpasses all understanding. And to the perpetrator of this awful crime. May God have mercy on you. Please, Please turn yourself in. "To them that know to do good and does not do it it is sin". James 4:7. Check out your heart condition. You left a Son without his father, a mother without her son.PLEASE, Have some compassion and DO WHAT IS RIGHT! Vicky

  • guest2012

    OF COURSE, the hit-and-run driver was a latino man and probably a gang banger as well. What else is new???? Any upstanding Latino Man would have stopped. So sorry for the loss of Mr. Diaz's life just before Christmas makes it all the more tragic.

    • alexanderaztec

      " of course the man was latino" probaly a thug, how do you figure that? with the parameters of young, with jeans and a white shirt, you are such a dunce. how about the blacks/asians/whites who hit and run as well. ALL RACES HAVE BAD APPLES. stop acting like a douche. sad story, too many situations of hit and runs.. no one stops any more..

      • Goyoman

        Well…if I were unfortunate enough to be hit by a car, I would hope for it to be driven by a white person. There is more chance for them to be insured and less chance that they would be illegal immigrants who don't want any interaction with police. And less chance of them being a thug. Yes all races have bad apples, but honestly, how many whites are gang bangers compared to blacks and latinos?

  • javer

    To Diaz family sorry for your loss.I saw Robert play in high school and was all city 1975 and a champion R.I.P former Mule standout !!!