SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A cyclist who was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver on Wednesday night spoke to CBS News 8 and said he wants the driver caught.
San Diego police continued their search Thursday for the driver who struck Omar Avila, 23, in the Colina Del Sol neighborhood as he was returning from a memorial for a 13-year-old boy killed in a bicycle crash last week.
RELATED: Bicyclist injured in hit-and-run after memorial for teen killed in bike crash
“I’m just very fortunate in every way that I’m in one piece. If I didn’t have my helmet on I’d be dead,” said Avila.
Avila was hit by a white Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV that turned into his path on El Cajon Boulevard near 52nd Street around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to San Diego police Officer Dino Delimitros.
“I really need to know what was going thru his mind when he did that. There’s no way he didn’t see both of us,” said Avila.
Avila and a fellow bicyclist were leaving a memorial service for 13-year-old Jose Guadalupe Hernandez Dominguez when he was struck. Dominguez lost control of his bike on a steep hill along 61st Street in Encanto Monday, was thrown from his bike and fatally struck his head on the nearby trolley tracks.
RELATED: Teen killed after crashing on trolley tracks in Encanto identified
“I basically hit the car with the full momentum of the right side of my body. My whole right side, my head went thru the glass. The next thing I knew, I was waking up and there’s a puddle of blood right next to me,” said Avila.
Avila suffered a serious gash above his right eye, fractured ribs and a bruised liver and a hole in his lung.
“I thought I was going to die. Even if I had the world’s strongest brakes, all that would have happened was that it would have flung me right off the bike and then I would have been under the car,” said Avila.
Police located and impounded the FJ Cruiser that hit Avila. It was abandoned a short distance from where Avila was hit, but the driver remains at large.
“I really want to catch this person. I want to know if it was worth it for him,” said Avila.
San Diego police said they believe it was a white male behind the wheel of the car.
Anyone with possible information on who may have been driving is asked to call San Diego CrimeStoppers at 888-580-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.