Southern California law enforcement officials are on the hunt for the driver of a dark SUV involved in a hit-and-run incident that left a mother severely wounded.
The distressing event took place on Whittier Boulevard in Whittier around 3 p.m. on October 30, according to local police. The collision, captured on video, inflicted severe injuries on Lisa Ortiz and deeply traumatized her 10-year-old son, Colin, who witnessed the entire ordeal.
Just moments after exiting her SUV on a bustling road, Park-Ortiz was violently sideswiped.
“I noticed a car in the distance, which seemed ordinary enough, so I stepped out,” she remembers. “Suddenly, it was heading straight for me. There was no time to move, so I tried pressing myself as flat as possible against my vehicle, praying the driver would see me.”
The collision was fierce, thrusting her back against her vehicle before throwing her into the air and onto the pavement. The offending motorist, behind a black Hyundai SUV wheel, promptly sped away from the scene.
“It was as if no one was paying attention. My youngest son, who’s only 11, had to step up,” she says, tears welling in her eyes. “He found my phone, dialed 911, and even ran to the nearest barber shop for more help.”
Park-Ortiz is a resilient woman, a mother of four, and a two-time cancer survivor. While she’s grateful for surviving this encounter, it’s yet another harsh blow for her family, particularly her young son.
“He’s struggling with what happened. It was a lot for him to take in,” she shared. “But his courage was astounding.
He was able to describe the car, and his actions that day were nothing short of lifesaving. “He and his mother were on their way to a nearby barbershop at the time of the incident. Ortiz recollected the harrowing experience, saying, “The driver just left me lying in the street, where I could have been run over by numerous passing cars.”
Javier Torres and Mario Muñoz, barbers at the Tip Top Barber Shop, told FOX 11 that they heard the entire incident. Torres likened the sound to two vehicles colliding, only to realize the horrifying truth that it was a pedestrian hit.
Ortiz is scheduled for a hip operation on Tuesday. Despite the daunting road ahead, she and her family remain optimistic, albeit realistic, about the physical challenges she will face, as reported by FOX 11.
“She’s a two-time cancer survivor, a mother of four, and was on the verge of starting a new job. But her life has taken an unexpected turn due to someone’s inconsiderate actions,” shared her aunt, Mary Ann Grant.
The Whittier Police Department is urging anyone with information about the hit-and-run driver to come forward as traffic division investigators continue to probe the incident.