Pedestrian Saw Girlfriend “Fly in the Air” After Hit-and-Run Crash

The hit-and-run driver has been identified, but authorities are asking for the public's help to find him

An emotional Juan Rodriguez struggled through tears Thursday as he described the hit-and-run crash that authorities say left his girlfriend and a man in critical condition.

“We were walking,” Rodriguez said. “I felt my hand go up in the air and I seen my girl fly in the air and the car just kept going.”

Rodriguez and his girlfriend, Sarah Lopez, 31, were walking to dinner at Whittier and Atlantic boulevards in East Los Angeles Wednesday night when a white GMC Yukon crossed into opposing traffic and onto the sidewalk, hitting Lopez, authorities said.

The car continued onto the sidewalk, crashing into a bus stop where 56-year-old Santiago Perez was sitting, pinning him down.

The wrong-way driver jumped out of his SUV holding a child and fled the scene. The California Highway Patrol has identified that driver as Pedro Velasquez, of Cudahy.

The CHP is asking for the public’s help in finding Velasquez.

An investigator spoke with Velasquez on the phone, CHP Sgt. Bill Preciado said in a news conference Thursday.

“Time is of the essence for us,” he said. “He is unlicensed. Is there a flight risk? Possibly.”

Authorities urge anyone with information to call the California Highway Patrol at 1-800-TELL-CHP.

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