Family, Union Ask for Help ID’ing Driver Who Hit Letter Carrier in Compton

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A veteran mail carrier known as “Peaches” remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday, three days after she was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver while delivering mail in Compton.

Lydia Ray, known as “Peaches,” is seen at left in a family photo. She was struck by a hit-and-run driver while delivering mail in Compton on Oct. 19, 2013.

Lydia Ray, known as “Peaches,” was just weeks from celebrating her 20th anniversary working with the U.S. Postal Service, according to a local spokesman for the service.

Her family and the local letter carriers’ union asked for help identifying the driver who struck her Oct. 19.

“She is a marvelous woman,” said Barbara Stickler, president of Local 1100 of the National Letter Carriers Assn. “She mothers all of us … and just has a very big, generous heart.”

Ray was delivering mail about 1:30 p.m. Saturday when she pinned between two vehicles, according to Richard Maher, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. Witnesses to the crash went to Ray’s aid, Maher said.

It’s not clear if Ray was hit while in her vehicle or if she was on foot, Maher said.

The crash occurred near the corner of Santa Fe and Euclid avenues (map). A Chevy Impala still at the scene on Monday night was also damaged in the crash.

Witness Allen Campos on Monday said he heard the crash and ran outside to find Ray stuck underneath the cars, with her arms severed and a fractured skull. More than 15 people helped lift the car to free Ray, Campos said.

Photos supplied by the Compton Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showed a damaged postal truck at the scene of the crash. The department planned to release more information later Tuesday.

Ray’s injuries mark the fifth time in six months that a letter carrier has been hurt by a driver, including a May incident in San Gabriel, Stickler said. She noted another incident in February 2012 that killed letter carrier Earl Anthony Dunn after his legs were severed by a driver in Boyle Heights.

Ray had undergone two surgeries, Maher said at a news conference Tuesday.

Union, postal service officials and Ray’s family urged anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“My mom is a fighter,” said her daughter Charmane Lars-Threat. “Please, everybody, if you have anything, please come forward.”

“How could you just do that, leave her in the street like an animal?” Lars-Threat added. “We just want this person to get caught.”

The truck Ray was operating appeared seriously damaged. (Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Compton Station)

A customer of Ray’s stayed with the letter carrier and followed an ambulance to the hospital to wait until a family member arrived, Lars-Threat said.

Ray has five children and six grand-children, Lars-Threat said, adding that her mother’s nickname is “Peaches.”

She has not been able to speak, but when a breathing tube is removed, Ray will surely have “a few choice words,” Lars-Threat said.

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