Boy, 15, was helping mom get to bus stop when hit-and-run driver struck, seriously wounded him in Hawthorne

Local news

The mother of a 15-year-old boy struck and seriously wounded by a car in Hawthorne while riding his bicycle pleaded for the hit-and-run driver to come forward Monday.

Jose Luis Garcia remained hospitalized at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Monday night after suffering a major head injury, broken right arm, left leg broken from the knee down and fractured ankles and feet in the Friday morning crash. His mother said she witnessed the crash.

The boy is expected to survive but must still continue receiving treatment for the time being, according to Hawthorne Police Officer Pedro Mambo.

“He’s expected to survive but there’s still lots of work to do,” Mambo said. “We still don’t know in regards to head trauma — how bad it is,” Mambo said.

His mother, Florencia Lopez, said he wanted to ride his bicycle alongside her as she walked to the bus stop that morning. She had a job interview, and he wanted to make sure she got there safely.

“She’s a single mother. She’s been without work for eight months, and this was the first time she was gonna get an interview for a job,” Mambo said. “And he wanted to be there.”

But as Lopez stood nearby, watching her son on his bicycle at the intersection, she saw a white car that would hit him just moments later.

“She also saw the suspect vehicle coming, but because the light was red for east and westbound traffic, she assumed that the vehicle would stop,” Mambo said.

Instead, the driver ran a red light in the intersection of Doty and Rosecrans avenues and hit Garcia at a high rate of speed, according to police. Officers responded to the scene just before 7:30 a.m. and found him suffering from serious head trauma.

First responders rushed the teen to a nearby hospital. Police said the car never stopped and the driver never tried to help the boy. The car sped off eastbound along Rosecrans, police said.

On Monday, police released surveillance footage showing the white, 4-door sedan involved in the crash, a Toyota investigators believe is possibly a Corolla or Camry.

As Garcia remains hospitalized, his mother urged the driver to come forward and police released surveillance footage showing the vehicle. Investigators believe it likely has damage to the windshield or front passenger side, police said.

Mambo said the boy’s mother is devastated by how the driver never tried to help him.

“The fact that the person just drove by without a care in the world, left him basically on the ground and didn’t bother stopping, she’s heartbroken,” Mambo said.

Police initially mistakenly said the the victim was 14 years old.

Anyone with information can reach Lt. Colquette at 310-349-2703. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

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