WATTS (CBSLA.com) —Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck an 18-year-old special needs student in Watts Saturday evening.
The accident was captured on security video.
CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Bobby Kaple spent several hours Sunday with the teen’s grieving family.
He reported the accident was so graphic, much of it had to be blurred before it could be broadcast.
Miguel Mendez, the fatally struck teen, was crossing Broadway Avenue just south of Century Boulevard.
Officials say he was just outside the crosswalk when he was struck by a minivan, possibly a green-colored Town & Country.
Mendez, a student at Benjamin Banneker Special Ed Center, died from his injuries.
The minivan driver did not stop.
As family gathered on Broadway Sunday afternoon, holding signs that said “Slow Down Please,” the boy’s mother spoke to Kaple and asked for the public’s help in locating the driver.
Said Mendez’ cousin Blanca Rodriguez, “He was handicapped. He couldn’t see well. He was a bright person. A lot of people would look at him like he was just nothing — but he was something to us.”
The victim’s brother, William, recalled his sibling was “a very happy person. Loved music, loved dancing. Everyone loved him.”
His family is urging the guilty party to come forward. Said Blanca, “Just turn yourself in and give us peace to the family and the friends that cared for him. He might not mean nothing to you, but he means a lot to us.”
His brother concurred. “I’m just hoping in your heart you can just come and turn yourself in. You took a piece of my heart. You know what I mean? That’s my brother.”