Hit-and-run victim shares survival story
OAKLAND PARK, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida man struck by a hit-and-run driver said his quality of life was permanently affected by the accident, as authorities hope newly released surveillance video of the accident helps them find the motorist responsible for the collision.
Ernest Bagnoli was on his scooter Sept. 12 when he collided with a black or dark-colored Ford F-150 truck at the intersection of North Dixie Highway and East Prospect Road in Oakland Park. Nearby surveillance cameras captured the crash.
The victim, who returned home Wednesday after having spent nearly a month at the hospital, said the injuries he sustained were so severe that his life will never be the same again. "Doctors told me that they had to put a plate across here because my eye was sagging, to prop it up," he said, as he pointed just below his right eye. "I had a big gash across [my] face here, and stitches here, [all over my face]."
"I can't close the eye," he added as he tried to blink, but his right eyelid remained immobile. He added his vision in that eye is blurry.
Bagnoli's injuries extend to the rest of his body. "Femur, hip fracture and fractured rib and chest plate," he said.
Bagnoli said he was on his way to work when the truck struck his scooter. "I remember coming to Prospect and Dixie Highway, and I see the green light, and I went through," he said.
Bagnoli was thrown from his scooter on impact and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. "Next thing I know, I'm being woken up by paramedics," said Bagnoli.
According to BSO officials, the truck was heading in the opposite direction when it rushed to turn out in front of the scooter. "The truck pauses for a second, almost as if he or she is considering whether to stop and help the victim," said BSO spokesperson Gina Carter. "They knew what had happened, saw the victim injured and fly off of the scooter, had the opportunity to stop and do the right thing, but chose to leave the scene anyway."
"[The driver] wanted to leave me for dead? That's pretty bad," said Bagnoli. "I mean, no matter what, he should have at least checked on me, make sure I was [alive] or something."
Bagnoli said he is not able to work as a result of the accident. "Basically, here's me," as he points at a counter filled with remote controls. The victim, who lives by himself, uses a walker, but he said he cannot walk beyond the confines of his apartment. "I'm homebound because I can't negotiate the steps and can't really do anything," he said. "I just got home today, so I'm still trying to figure everything out."
The suspect was seen fleeing east on Prospect Road. "They did something very wrong, and it should be taken very seriously," said Bagnoli.
Bagnoli is still unable to close his right eye, and he still has more surgeries ahead of him.
If you have any information on the driver's whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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