Hit-and-run crash forces South Bay family to count down to New Year from hospital

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On New Year's Eve, Maria Ortega had just finished a full work shift. She was driving along Winchester Boulevard, with her two children in the car.

Ortega said she stopped at a red light on Winchester and Williams Road, around 6:10 p.m. In a matter of seconds, another driver slammed into her Mazda sedan and drove off.

Now, Ortega is starting the New Year in a neck brace.

Still, she's determined to find the driver responsible for the hit and run crash that sent her to the hospital on New Year's Eve.

"I am in pain here," Ortega said while pointing to her left arm. "And my neck."

Ortega said the physical pain is nothing compared to what could've been.

The driver rammed into the back of her car, right where her two children were seated.

"I was sitting on the right and my brother was sitting on the left," 12-year-old Lupe Maya Ortega told ABC7 News.

She recalled their car pulling up to a red light, before something powerful pushed them into the intersection.

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Maria Ortega immediately u-turned to avoid flowing traffic through Williams Road.

Her son, 15-year-old Juan Maya Ortega is still unable to shake the sound of the impact.

"I just heard all the glass from the back of the car shatter," Juan said. "And some parts of the car falling out into the street."

Aside from a few scratches, Lupe and Juan are fine. The Ortega's calling their health a miracle, considering the mangled backside of the Mazda.

"I'm wondering how me and my sister are still walking," Juan admitted. "And not having that much injuries."

However, Maria was taken by ambulance. The family was forced to count down to the New Year from the hospital.

Now, they're searching for answers.

The San Jose Police Department, or SJPD, believes the person responsible turned eastbound on Williams Road in either a truck or SUV.

RELATED: 1 dead, 1 seriously injured in hit-and-run crash in San Jose

Maria Ortega is urging the driver to step forward.

"Please, you need to think when you're driving," she said. "You need to wait. You need to wait."

The Ortega family, expressing their disappointment that a driver involved in a crash could leave anyone on the side of the road.

"Just hit us and leave the scene," Juan said. "Not stopping, or checking if we were okay or not."

Without her car, Maria said getting around has been inconvenient for the family. She's hoping to get a rental car in order before school is back in session.

"My car is my help for my kids," she explained. "For me to bring them to their schools."

If you have any information about the hit-and-run crash that happened around 6:17 p.m. on December 31, 2019, be sure to contact SJPD.
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