The daughter of a man who was severely injured in a Valley Glen road-rage attack on New Year’s Day spoke out Tuesday after a teen was arrested in connection with the incident.
Jennifer Gonzalez said her father is out of a medically-induced coma and is doing a lot better, but he remains hospitalized and has a long recovery ahead.
She said she and her family are taking the recovery process “day by day.”
“I’m just thankful that he’s alive and that he’s actually talking now, and that he’s walking,” Gonzalez said of the 46-year-old victim.
She added that her dad has had to learn how to learn how to swallow, eat and talk again.
“It’s a traumatic experience for me and my family,” Gonzalez said of the assault.
She added that her father has trouble remembering what happened that day and that his memories are “scattered.”
She said while she is glad an arrest was made in the case, she remains in shock about what happened to her dad, who worked as a senior service advisor at Infiniti of Van Nuys for more than 15 years.
“It just kinda hurts,” she said through tears.
The attack occurred about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 1, near the intersection of Woodman Avenue and Victory Boulevard.
A Jeep that had been driving erratically stopped behind the victim at a red light. Both parties pulled over and the victim, along with the Jeep’s three occupants got into a dispute, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
A teen who has not been identified allegedly armed himself with brass knuckles and punched the victim, causing him to fall back. The punch was captured on video by a witness in another vehicle.
The victim was left unconscious at the scene while the assailants sped off in the Jeep.
On Feb. 13, Los Angeles Police Department officials announced that the 17-year-old boy who dealt the blow had been taken into custody after apparently fleeing to Armenia. He has not been identified because of his age.
A case has been filed against the minor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and he is expected to make his court appearance Tuesday in Sylmar, officials said.
Another occupant of the Jeep was identified as Robert Hovhannisyan, who also fled to Armenia. He could face arrest if he returns to the U.S. but police are no longer actively searching for him because he is not accused of assaulting the victim himself, police said.
The victim's family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses and his recovery.