Los Angeles

South LA Teen Dragged 1,500 Feet in Hit-and-Run Makes Amazing Recovery

A teen who was run down two weeks ago while riding his bicycle through South Los Angeles has begun to show signs of recovery.

Roberto Díaz, 15, almost lost his life on Aug. 6 after being hit by a vehicle around 9 p.m., near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Woodlawn Avenue. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, Officer Drake Madison of the Los Angeles Police Department said. 

A preliminary investigation determined that the teenager was struck near the intersection of Maple Avenue and 36th Street and dragged 1,500 feet to the Martin Luther King Boulevard area and Woodlawn Avenue, where he fell off the vehicle, police said.

Witnesses said another boy on a bicycle tried to chase down the driver, who briefly remained at the scene, then fled in what police described as a blue Honda with tinted windows.

"I heard the crash," said Anthony Aracen. "I looked over and saw the bike in the air. I thought the car was stopping to look at him."

In a desperate attempt to help, Anthony used Roberto's cellphone to call the injured boy's mother. He was able to speak with Roberto to get his pass code for the phone.

Anthony returned to the scene later Wednesday, saying he did not know Roberto but just wanted to help.

Another person in a car followed the driver, but lost sight of the Honda.

Despite the wounds, the young man has shown signs of recovery, in what family and friends consider a miracle. Doctors say his full recovery could take 6 to 7 months. He will undergo another surgery Wednesday.

"He should talk to the authorities, and I hope he gets help because I don't think he is well," he said. 

In the early days of his recovery, he was only able to communicate with his mom by squeezing her hand. Now he says he just wants to get his life back to normal. 

Detectives in charge of the case are planning to release more information on the hit-and-run next Wednesday.

Officers want to remind the community that being undocumented should not be an impediment to report any case. 

"If you don't have a license, that's fine. If you don't have papers to be here in this country, that's fine. We're not immigration. That's not part of our job," LAPD detective Juan Campos said. 

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