A family still raw and mourning after a horrific bus stop hit-and-run killed a 72-year-old grandfather and left his wife with cracked ribs is speaking out days before the roll out of Yellow Alerts — a way for the public to help catch hit-and-run drivers.
A hit-and-run driver, who still hadn't been caught by Monday, jumped the curb at a Santa Ana bus stop and struck Dine Van Le as well as his wife Em Nguyen on Dec. 8. Their grandson witnessed the entire crash.
Nguyen said she is still in shock. Her broken right arm is healing and her cracked ribs are also on the mend.
On the day of the crash, she and her husband had just walked to the bus bench at about 4:35 a.m. at the intersection of McFadden Avenue and Center Street.
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The driver was traveling eastbound on McFadden when the car drove onto the sidewalk and struck the 72-year-old and his wife.
The couple's grandson said Nguyen was conscious throughout the entire incident.
"The car was behind her so she was staring in the opposite direction. So all she heard was the [sound] of the car," Hieu Le, her grandson, said.
Police said the car parts left behind likely belong to a dark Nissan SUV. They said they are still searching for the driver, and beginning Jan. 1, drivers on local freeways may be able to help in similar situations.
In certain cases, the CHP will issue a "Yellow Alert" describing the hit-and-run car, the driver, and direction of travel — similar to an Amber Alert.
"Every motorist on the highway is a set of eyes that can potentially see what we're looking for," Officer Ray Schenides of the CHP said. "We do get lots of information from the public when these alerts are issued."
There is a strict criterion for the alert: The CHP would have to believe the hit-and-run driver would use freeways to escape or that there was a death or serious injury. They would need, at minimum, a partial license plate.
CHP also warns drivers to never chase a hit-and-run suspect, but to make sure to give the best details possible, like where the car was spotted and a description of the driver.
Nguyen said she can't remember much about that December morning she lost her husband to a stranger. She said she is in favor of anything that can help catch the person.
"I just want him to explain what happened, why he did it," Le said.