LAPD Hopes to Reach Family of Critically Injured Man Amid Ongoing Search for Driver Who Struck Him in Florence

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Investigators released a photo Wednesday of a hit-and-run victim in hopes of reaching his family as they continue to search for the driver who struck and injured him in Florence last week.

Joel Cruz appears in a photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 18, 2019.

Joel Cruz appears in a photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 18, 2019.

The incident happened in the South Los Angeles neighborhood about 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Surveillance video released by LAPD on Tuesday shows a sedan slamming into a pedestrian crossing Central Avenue near 67th Street just before the victim made it to the sidewalk.

The victim, identified as 39-year-old Joel Cruz, was pushed several feet up the street.

A second motorist stopped for several seconds before driving away, the footage shows.

Cruz was taken to the hospital and remains in critical condition, police said. LAPD previously released a different name for the victim.

"Joel Cruz is actually by himself at a local hospital," Detective Moses Castillo told KTLA Wednesday. "That’s what’s really sad about it. We’re trying to connect with his family so we can actually have someone with him."

Castillo also called for any additional information about the incident.

"Have the courage to do the right thing," the detective said. "Contact us."

Castillo also offered advice to anyone who accidentally hurts somebody in a crash.

"Really, it gets old and it’s tiring that we have to face family members knowing that their loved one is either dead or severely injured," he said. "If [drivers] would just stop, do the right thing and exchange information and remain at the scene, render aid when possible, it’s not a crime."

Investigators believe the vehicle involved in the Friday night incident is a black or dark-blue, four-door Kia. A witness reported seeing heavy damages to the windshield on the driver side of the sedan, police said.

Anyone with information can contact Castillo at 30215@lapd.online or 213-833-3713. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call 800-222-8477 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org. The city offers a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in hit-and-run incidents resulting in an injury.

 

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