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Disabled man wants apology from hit-and-run driver who damaged his truck

A wreck that killed Robert Gutierrez’s son in 2004 left him paralyzed from the chest down. He gets around in an electric wheelchair and a pickup truck fitted with special hand controls that allow him to drive. But on Friday, a car slammed into the front of that truck, and the driver left the scene without leaving a note.

“When I came outside, I noticed somebody’d run into my truck and didn’t even bother to stick around and say sorry or, ‘let me pay for the damages’ or anything,” Gutierrez said.

He checked surveillance video from outside the HEB in Annaville, where the hit-and-run happened, but it didn’t show the car that hit his truck. Gutierrez then got some good news at the repair shop. Since he had uninsured motorist coverage, all he’d have to pay to get his truck fixed was a $250 deductible.

But there was a problem. Gutierrez said he would have a hard time coming up with that sum of money.

“Living on a fixed income that’s kind of hard to do,” he said.

Action 10 interviewed Gutierrez and ran a story on his situation in the 6:00 p.m. newscast Thursday. Katherine Mejia, who lives on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi with her Marine husband, was watching, and she sprang into action.

“My husband and I have agreed to pay for part of Robert’s deductible for his vehicle to get fixed,” Mejia said.

“Part” turned out to be half. Mejia says she’ll either give $125 to the collision center or to Robert himself.

“I wanted him to know that there are good people out there, although the person who hit him is obviously not good,” she said.

If Gutierrez can come up with the rest of the money, he’ll likely be able to get his repaired truck back next Friday. He’d like to see the hit-and-run driver brought to justice or at least get an apology from that person.

“I don’t wish anyone any ill will, but karma always has a way of coming around and getting you,” he said.

Seth Kovar

Seth Kovar

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