Police are seeking the public’s help in tracking down a driver who left the scene after hitting and severely injuring a bicyclist in his boss’ car in South Los Angeles early Thursday morning.
The victim was heading east down Vernon Avenue in Central-Alameda, approaching the intersection with Compton Avenue, when a Toyota Corolla traveling the same direction rear-ended him around 5:20 a.m., L.A. police said in a news release.
The cyclist was knocked from his bike and landed in the street, officials said.
The man behind the wheel of the Toyota — a white 2017 model with license plate No. 7ZAK929 — simply kept driving, according to investigators.
Paramedics responded and transported the victim with severe injuries. He was admitted to the ICU upon arriving at the hospital, police said.
LAPD identified the victim as a 45-year-old man named Esteban, but said the man’s family didn’t want his last name released to protect his privacy.
Photos Esteban’s relatives shared from the hospital shows the victim lying heavily bruised and bandaged in his bed, attached to a breathing tube with blood stains on his pillow.
It was unclear whether he was conscious.
Authorities tracked down the Toyota’s registered owner, who wasn’t in the vehicle at the time but is cooperating in the investigation.
The car’s owner told detectives the driver was her employee, Jose Miguel Mendez Lopez, who was running a work errand at the time of the crash, Detective Juan Campos said.
Lopez allegedly called his boss and told her he was involved in a crash and was in hiding at an unknown location.
LAPD is now trying to track the man down.
Police describe Lopez as a Latino man around 35 years old with black hair and brown eyes. He measures 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs around 170 pounds.
Investigators are asking Lopez to turn himself in and hoping members of the public can provide information on his whereabouts.
Anyone with information can contact LAPD’s Central Traffic Division detectives at 213-833-3713, Detective Juan Campos at 213-486-0755 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or LACrimeStoppers.org.