Police: Hit-and-run driver stays with elderly victim, but leaves before police arrive

- Security video shows an elderly man walking across a parking lot when a car backs up hitting him. It was enough force to knock the man off his feet, causing severe injuries.

“He just lost his balance, fell over backward, hit the back of his head and got a pretty bad skull fracture with brain bleeding,” Bob Ozawa, the victim’s son-in-law, said.

The elderly victim is 89-year-old Roy Ito who is still hospitalized in critical condition. The accident happened on March 28 around 9:30 a.m. at a Denny’s restaurant in Woodland Hills.

“Some days he won’t accept any medical assistance or medication, or won’t eat or drink and he’s been in the hospital like five weeks,” Ozawa said.

Police said the driver of the grey Toyota seen in security video wearing a long-sleeve green shirt and his female passenger in a green skirt went to help the man, but the driver made some big mistakes afterwards.

“The responsibility of that driver was to remain at the scene as he did temporarily to call 911,” Det. Bill Bustos, LAPD, said. “That did not happen from that individual. Somebody else had to call 911.”

The driver then slipped away, pulling out of the parking lot before police could get there. What might have been just an accident is now a hit-and-run.

“We do not know who this driver is, we do not know where the vehicle is, so we are reaching out to the community,” Bustos said.

Ozawa said his father-in-law doesn’t remember anything about the accident. Before suffering head trauma, he was a healthy and active grandfather. Now his family isn’t sure if he’ll ever recover. 

“I don’t blame them. I don’t think they meant any harm, but it’s the law to leave your identity in an incident like this or it’s technically a crime,” Ozawa said. “I want them to come forward and take responsibility.”

Police said they have run out of leads on this investigation and they’re asking anyone with information to come forward. The vehicle was described as a newer model, grey Ford Fusion.

The number to call is Valley Traffic Division, Detective Larkin at (818) 644-8115 or Detective Bustos at (818) 644-8021.

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