Southside hit-and-run victim recovers, family asks for help
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -Biking has always been part of 22-year-old Stephan Valencia's commute; it's the way he gets around.
But, On October 24, a quarter mile from his job on Ajo Way, Department of Public Safety officers said the driver of a jeep slammed into the 22-year-old, throwing him off his bike.
DPS said the driver took off.
Valencia, who was not wearing a helmet, was left in a crosswalk at the Interstate-19 on-ramp.
"This can't be happening. It's got to be a mistake, not Stephan," family friend Mark Kinney told 9OYS.
"I didn't know how serious it was until I actually went to the hospital and seen him, I was actually caught really off guard, because I wasn't expecting to see what I saw," Valencia's cousin, Bianca Ramirez added.
What Ramirez saw was her 22-year-old cousin, on a ventilator, bandaged and bruised with fractures to his skull.
DPS investigators kept Valencia's bike for evidence.
The bike, family and friends say, is more than a mode of transportation; it's his passion.
"When he was in the hospital that was one of his first questions. Where is my bike? What happened to my bike," Ramirez continued.
It's the exact reason Valencia's family has set up a fundraiser through the website, "Go Fund Me." The family is asking for donations to help cover medical expenses and buy Valencia a new bike.
Meantime, DPS is still looking for the hit-and-run driver. The vehicle is described as a dark green, possibly 2005-2007Jeep Liberty with front end damage.
"I think that grieves us the most that somebody would have the audacity to run over somebody and then just leave the scene," Kinney told us.