DALLAS - A Texas man confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy may now lose his legs after being struck in a hit-and-run crash Wednesday night.
Joey Salas, who lives in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, was leaving a restaurant for his nearby home when he began crossing the street in his motorized wheelchair, CBS 11 in Dallas reported. A truck struck Salas and kept going.
“I didn’t see nothing until the truck came real close,” Salas told the news station from his hospital bed. “My body’s defense mechanism kicked in and I don’t remember nothing.”
Police investigators are searching for leads that will lead them to the person who struck Salas. Witnesses described the vehicle as a white Ford F150 with LED lights.
Salas’ friends have been sharing his plight across social media in an effort to find the person who hit him.
This breaks my heart. Please pray for Joey, share the story (so they catch the person😡) and please donate to his gofund me if you can. I graduated with Joey. Prayers for you my friend🙏🏽Posted by Lupita Lopez on Thursday, January 12, 2017
Albert Mata, who lives near the crash site, told the local Fox affiliate that heard a loud bang Wednesday night while inside his home.
“I looked out my door and saw a white truck speeding toward the stop sign, and he didn’t stop. He turned east on 12th Street, and that was it,” Mata said.
Mata ran to help Salas, whose legs were crushed by the truck. The next thing Salas remembers is waking in the hospital surrounded by family and friends.
The 42-year-old is in good condition, but is scheduled to undergo surgery for an infection that has cropped up in his legs. He told CBS 11 that he could lose them.
Salas said he forgives the person who hit him, but wants the person to come forward and take responsibility for his actions. His family is not so forgiving.
“I think he’s a coward,” Salas’ sister, Angie Dally, told the news station. “I can’t believe somebody would do something like that and leave him out there like a dead animal.”
Salas said that if he does lose his legs, he anticipates adapting to the situation like he’s had to adapt to his condition over his lifetime. One of his biggest concerns is replacing the wheelchair he relies on to get around.
Multiple fundraising websites have been set up to help the popular disability advocate, who is also active in the local Tejano music scene. As of Friday morning, the sites had raised about $15,000 of the $40,000 goal.
Watch the video below to hear Salas speak in 2013 to a class at the Oak Cliff campus of the Texans Can Academy, which he serves as an ambassador.