Search still on for driver who struck Fil-Am student

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 04 2014 09:39 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2014 05:39 PM

SAN JOSE, California – Filipino-American John Paul Garcia is still in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident last week.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. last Wednesday, Garcia was coming back home from getting ice cream for his nephew when he was struck by what police believe was a black sedan.

Because of major injuries, doctors initially feared he could be paralyzed for the rest of his life.

However, his family can now breathe a sigh of relief because in the last few days Garcia's health has been improving. After a major operation that involved a knee replacement and an open reduction on his left leg, doctors said he could walk again.

“Knowing that he’ll be able to walk again helped us to move along and deal with the situation,” said Lorna Garcia, the victim's sister.

Garcia's mother, Myrna, drove by the accident on her way to work and had no idea that it was her son lying in the street.

Upon returning home and receiving the news that Garcia did not come home the night before, she feared the accident she saw involved her son.

"Me and my husband drove right away to the hospital," said Myrna. "True enough, my son was in the ICU. My expectation was I thought we were going to see him in the morgue because the way I look at the situation he’s already flat on the street. I’m so thankful to the Lord that he is alive.”

Garcia was a block away from his home and made it more than half way through the intersection when he was struck in the middle lane sending his body at least 20 feet past the crosswalk.

For now, authorities are still trying to look for the driver.

"I've been trying to contact the police on multiple occasions, the San Jose Police Department,” said Lorna. “I believe my mom and my husband has been trying to get the report but we haven’t heard from them which is a little disheartening and disappointing but we’re just going to keep trying.”

The thought of the driver still out there still haunts Garcia's father, Loreto.

“Whoever the driver of that car, who left my son on the street lying down unconscious, it hurts me up to now,” said Loreto "I'm still looking, searching for the man."

While the family continues to pray for Garcia's recovery, they said they are thankful for the continued support from the community.

"We’re really thankful and grateful," said Lorna. "We've had offers for donations from people we don’t even know and we don’t even ask for anything which is fantastic and we appreciate that. We appreciate all the prayers."

His family is still offering a $2,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the driver.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the San Jose Police Department at (408) 947-STOP.

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