A California mother is pleading for information about who struck her son in a hit-and-run crash last week that left him with a serious brain injury, KXTV reports.
“I want them to turn themselves in,” Elisa Castellanos said. “How dare you take my son like that and hurt him and leave him there. How could they do that? Leave somebody there to die.”
The incident occurred around 2 a.m. Saturday, April 27, in Sacramento. Police say a vehicle that looks like a Nissan was fleeing the scene. The victim, 40-year-old Francisco “Paco” Rodriguez, remains hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center.
Castellanos also is upset because she was not notified about what happened until Monday morning.
“My son came in as a John Doe,” Castellanos said. “He had surgery without us even knowing he had surgery. They took part of his skull off, and now they got a tube in there and he has a broken ankle, but they’re not worried about his broken ankle. They’re worried about his brain because they said he has a very serious brain injury.”
UC Davis Health Senior Public Information Officer Charles Casey told the television station in a statement that the hospital works as quickly as possible to identify patients who come in without an ID and notify their loved ones.
In this case, the hospital relied on a retailer loyalty program card for identification. When the company opened on Monday morning, the hospital worked to ascertain Rodriguez’s identity and notify an emergency contact, which was done in an hour and a half.
“We are sorry we were unable to notify this family sooner, as we know how important it is to let loved ones know someone has been hospitalized,” Casey wrote. “This is a good reminder for all people to have identification and emergency contact information with them at all times.”
Castellanos disputes the claim that her son didn’t have an ID on him. She said a witness who found her son reported that he had an ID card.
“She found him laying on the street, and she stopped, and looked at his ID, so she knew his name was Francisco,” Castellanos said. “She said that he was fighting for his life, he was gasping for air, and he couldn’t breathe.”
Rodriguez had recently installed LED lights on his bike the night of the collision, according to friends.
“He was lit up,” Castellanos said. “I don’t know how anyone could have not seen him on that bike.”
Angel Rodriguez, Paco Rodriguez’s friend, described him as someone who loves his family, is always willing to help anyone who needs it and is a hard worker.
“He always takes care of his brothers and his family first,” Angel Rodriguez said.
His mother, Castellanos, added: “He’s a big teddy bear. He loves everybody.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for Paco Rodriguez’s medical expenses.
To report information about the case, call the Sacramento Police Department at 916-808-5471. A $1,000 reward is being offered.
[Feature Photo: Paco Rodriguez/GoFundMe]