A photographer who's still recovering after being struck by a hit-and-run driver last year in Hollywood said Wednesday that he's closer to moving past the incident after police arrested the suspect driver over the weekend.
Corentin Villemeur, a French national and Los Angeles resident, said he spent nearly two months in the hospital after the Nov. 6 crash on Vine Street, just north of the busy intersection with Hollywood Boulevard.
An Acura sedan allegedly driven by Elvis Guevara-Vasquez, 30, slammed into Villemeur as he was crossing Vine around 11:25 p.m., according to L.A. Police Detective Connie White.
Villemeur said his residence isn't far from the crash site. He was returning home from shooting for popular YouTuber Lele Pons, who had just performed at the Avalon. But after that, his memory gets hazy.
“I don’t remember much about the night of the accident," he said at a Wednesday press conference announcing the arrest. "All I know is that there’s not much I could have done differently.”
Others later told him was supposed to get in a car with the rest of his crew from the shoot, but Villemeur told them he could walk. He says he used a marked crosswalk, “just like any other day or any other time — just like anyone would do.”
According to White, Investigators were able to identify Guevara-Vasquez as the suspect with the help of testimony from witnesses, who noticed a domestic violence incident in the area shortly before the crash. Detectives later uncovered surveillance video surrounding that incident.
One witness also chased the vehicle as long as they could and was able to relay a description of it.
A $105,000 arrest warrant for Guevara-Vasquez was issued in January, and detectives have been searching for him “off and on” ever since, White said.
Then on Sunday, May 5, the suspect was in another crash involving domestic violence in the northern San Fernando Valley — though this time it wasn't a hit-and-run. Officers taking him into custody noticed the warrant, White said.
Guevara-Vasquez was arrested around 1:20 a.m. and booked at the Van Nuys jail, inmate records show.
Villemeur said the arrest provided a major step toward achieving closure.
“It’s a relief to know that I can move on to the next phase now, and hopefully soon enough close that chapter and leave that story behind me,” he said.
Still, he said, a long road to full recovery remains. His injuries included a broken leg and ribs, a brain injury and pneumonia induced by a collapsed lung.
His bones are still healing and he's walking with the assistance of a cane, but Villemeur said he's thankful to be able to stand on his own six months later.
“I’m alive — that’s the main thing right now, to be honest," he said. "I’m here still witnessing, being able to tell my story.”
Villemeur, who runs a company called Shots Studios, said he's not sure if he’ll be able to return to photography work like before — but “most likely not.”
“It’s a very demanding job, physically,” he said. “I’ll see how I feel next year, and if I’m able to stand again and move around, and travel the way I used to. … It won’t be the same, but I’ll make the best out of it, and I have an amazing team supporting me. So we’ll figure something out.”
A GoFundMe campaign set up to raise funds for his recovery earned more than $166,000.
Guevara-Vasquez was being held without bail and scheduled to appear in court Thursday, May 9, inmate records show.
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Last week I went back to @cedarssinai visit the amazing staff that took great care of me for close to 2 months following the accident. In these pics are some of the doctors and nurses that went above and beyond to save my life and allow me to be doing better today. The first pic is me on the bridge that connects the 2 buildings of the hospital. This bridge is where my parents took me on an outing for the first time I was allowed outside of my room of the ICU. The last pic is the room I was First admitted into in the ICU. May God bless and protect you 🙏🏻 but for whatever reason if you end up at #cedarssinai , know you’re in the best hands there are. ❤️ Can’t thank these people enough tor what they did ❤️I was so proud to show them how good of a job they did 💪🏻 #forevergrateful #facesofcedarssinai #lovearmy #postthepeople