Oct 29, 2012 11:55 PM by Rebecca Taylor

Hit and run driver sought by Police

TUCSON - A Tucson man, the victim of a hit and run driver says he was left for dead. He's hoping the public can help find who's responsible.

It happened two Saturdays ago at Columbus and Flower, located North of Grant.

Police tell News 4, that the driver of a Toyota Tacoma traveling north on Columbus turned in front of the motorcyclist, heading the other way.

The bike reportedly got wedged under the pickup, and dragged a quarter-mile through the neighborhood.

The police report says the driver made an illegal left hand turn, throwing an 18-year-old motorcyclist off his bike, and into the emergency room.

Being comforted by his mom, Manny Mello describes the crash.

"It was so loud, the impact, it was like an explosion," said Mello. "He left me to die."

Manny suffered a torn spleen, dislocated shoulder, and multiple broken bones in his leg.

His mom, Carolyn Mello says, "as soon as he saw my son on the ground, he floored it, hit the gas. There was no hesitation, he was running away."

At the scene, Carolyn says there are deep gouges in the road. They were caused by Manny's motorcycle being dragged by the truck, and at some point it caught fire.

Police also found an empty gas can. Carolyn suspects the driver lit the remnants of the bike on fire, to destroy evidence of the crime.

"It's just sickening that somebody could do this. They couldn't even get the VIN number from the motorcycle, it was so badly burned," said Carolyn.

Police are looking for a Toyota Tacoma, a piece of its headlight cover was found at the scene.

Sgt. Chris Widmer wants Tucsonans to be on the lookout.

"If they saw a vehicle, at a high rate of speed somewhere in that area," says Sgt. Widmer, "and even that being said, anyone who knows someone who owns a truck similar to this, who's having some type of work done to it."

Manny's doctor's tell him that it could be a year before he walks again.

"I've got several months of hard work in front of me, he took it away from me, he took away a chunk of my life," says Mello.

Hit and run accidents happen on near daily basis according to Tucson Police.

In 2011, there were 1,826.

So far in 2012, there have been 1,514.

Again, the truck police are looking for is a Toyota Tacoma with front end damage. Witnesses describe it as black or gold in color.

Anyone with information should call 911 or 88-crime.


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