A hit-and-run crash has left a mother of four hospitalized in Whittier as the suspect remains at large.
Surveillance video captured the terrifying moment the victim, Lisa Park-Ortiz, was struck and nearly killed on Monday afternoon.
She was taking her son to the barber shop around 2:30 p.m. when she was struck while exiting her parked car on Whittier Boulevard.
“All I remember is just hearing a noise, almost like a car crash, but it was my body hitting the car and that was the last thing I remember,” said Park-Ortiz.
Video captures Park-Ortiz getting violently sideswiped just moments after stepping out of her SUV parked along a busy street.
“The car looked far away and like a normal car far away, so I got out and then I saw it coming straight to me and there was no way that I could move so I tried to lean against my car as flat as possible hoping that the person would look up,” she recalled.
The violent impact shoves the woman back against her car before she is tossed into the air and lands on the road. The suspect, driving a black compact Hyundai SUV, is seen speeding away.
“Nobody was really stopping and my youngest is 11 and he had to get in the car,” she recalled tearfully. “He got my phone out and called 911 and he ran into the barber shop to get help for me.”
Park-Ortiz is a mother of four and a two-time cancer survivor. Even though she’s thankful to have survived, the incident marks yet another traumatic event for her family, especially her son.
“He’s having a really hard time still. It was a lot for him,” she said. “But he was able to give a description of the car and he did so much. He literally saved my life that day.”
Because the driver didn’t stop to render aid, Park-Ortiz said the suspect made it even easier for other passing drivers to have run her over and kill her.
The mother said she’s lucky to be alive, but hopes the driver, believed to be a woman, does the right thing and turns herself in.
For now, Park-Ortiz remains hospitalized with a long road to recovery ahead. The crash left her with multiple broken bones and a fractured pelvis while she remains bed-bound. She will still need to undergo further surgery.
“I’m very scared,” she said. “I’m terrified of the recovery and how I’m going to do it. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The suspect’s vehicle is believed to be a dark-colored Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. Anyone with information is asked to call the Whittier Police Department at 562-567-9200.
Those interested in helping Park-Ortiz with medical expenses can donate here.