San Jose family pleads for information in hit and run

February 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A San Jose family is desperate for clues in a hit and run case that may have left a teenage girl paralyzed. Erika Luna is in critical condition after being dragged for hundreds of feet through East San Jose early Sunday morning.

San Jose police say they don't know yet whether the driver knew Erika was pinned under the vehicle and being dragged for hundreds of feet, but her family is convinced this driver did know and took off anyway.

The skid mark stretches hundreds of feet, the entire length of the East San Jose neighborhood block. That's how far Erika's family says she was dragged, while trapped underneath a car.

"They didn't even have the decency to stop. You think about it, they don't even do that to animals. You hit an animal and people stop," said Jose Luna, Erika's brother.

It was 2:30 Sunday morning, Erika was walking across Tierra Buena and Fontaine roads, her boyfriend saw the speeding car and tried to slow it down, but it hit Erika and never stopped.

"The only information that we have is that we're looking for a gray sport utility vehicle with possible damage to the front end," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

With few leads, Erika's family returned to the neighborhood hoping to find someone who saw something. They passed out fliers offering a $2,000 reward -- money they pooled together themselves.

"I believe somebody saw something, somebody could have heard something and whoever that is, please come forward and help us out. Please," said Adriana Bedolla, Erika's cousin.

Neighbors say cars often speed through the area without slowing down, even for children.

"Sometimes they're pretty fast and sometimes people have to tell them to slow down, but they don't really slow down," said neighbor Carmen Beltran.

As for Erika, she's lucky to be alive, but with extensive injuries to her hips, leg muscles and pelvic bone, her family doesn't know if she'll ever walk again.

"We've tried to talk to her and she tells us she can't handle this, that she can't, which is very difficult for us because she's a really strong girl," said Bedolla.

Erika is at San Jose Regional Medical Center where she hopes to one day be a nurse. She's has had two surgeries so far, but she has a long road to recovery ahead.

Anyone with information is asked to call San Jose Police Department.