Authorities were asking for help Thursday finding the driver of a white SUV who fled after seriously injuring two pedestrians in a collision in East Los Angeles.
The motorist crashed into a bus bench at Whittier and Atlantic boulevards (map) at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, prompting a major emergency response. A bus shelter was knocked on its side by the impact.
The SUV struck a female pedestrian on the sidewalk, 31-year-old Sara Lopez, and Santiago Perez, 56, who was seated at the Metro bus shelter and became pinned under the SUV. Both were in critical condition Thursday, authorities said.
The driver, believed to be Pedro Velasquez of Cudahy, fled the scene on foot. The vehicle was a white GMC Yukon.
During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Lopez’s boyfriend Juan Rodriguez urged Velasquez to turn himself in.
“It happened too fast. I saw my girl on the floor and I thought he was going to help,” Rodriguez said. “By the time I looked up again, there was no one in the car.”
Authorities said Velasquez did not have a driver’s license and was possibly a flight risk.
A crowd of people gathered around the hit-and-run scene, in a busy commercial area, and witnesses at the scene told KTLA on Wednesday that the driver took off with a child who had been in the car.
“It’s reckless. He had no regard for his child or any child out here,” a California Highway Patrol Sgt. Connie Guzman said Wednesday night.
At the news conference Thursday, CHP officials said the reports of the child seen with the driver were unconfirmed.
Officers said they obtained photos of Velasquez from his wife and from a cell phone he left at the scene.
Anyone with information on the case was asked to call California Highway Patrol Officer Frank Fonseca or Officer Ramiro Durazo at 323-980-4600.
KTLA’s Doug Kolk contributed to this report.