Authorities are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of a hit-and-run suspect that struck and severely injured a 20-year-old college student last month, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Victim Stephanie Vasquez suffered several fractures throughout her body after she was struck by an SUV as she was entering her parked car on Jefferson Boulevard east of San Pedro Street at around 3:20 p.m. on March 22, according to LAPD.
Doctors later told Vasquez that her leg had to be amputated due to the injuries.
"Her leg was really destroyed," the victim's mother Saila Chiquete said. "They tried to save it as much as they could. They told me it’s either her life or leg.”
Vasquez said it was difficult to come to terms with what had happened.
“At first, it was really hard for me to accept the fact that I went through a really bad accident and had to go through amputation," she told KTLA.
The driver of the SUV, later identified as 30-year-old Paulino Diego Pedro, did not stop after striking Vasquez and was later spotted in surveillance video abandoning his vehicle a few blocks away and running, police said. Pedro was still at large Thursday morning—almost 20 days after the incident.
The police department released surveillance images of the suspect Wednesday, asking for the public's help finding him.
Vasquez asked the suspect to come forward and take responsibility for the collision.
The city offers a $25,000 to those who provide information leading to the offender's identification, apprehension and conviction, LAPD said.
Anyone with information was urged to call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at 213-833-3713 or email@example.com. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.