Family searches for answers in hit-and-run crash

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Angel Gomez loved to walk, so it was not out of the ordinary when he set out to on foot to visit his 9-year-old daughter, Clarissa Gomez.

But, some time after he was expected to arrive at her house, his wife started to wonder about him. He failed to show up.

"We were waiting for him, I was hoping he'd call," said wife Rachel Gomez.

The husband and wife maintain separate households.

Angel Gomez never made it. As he was walking down Oswell Street near Center Street, the California Highway Patrol said a drunk driver, 24-year-old Israel Hernandez Nuez, made a right turn onto Oswell, lost control of his car and hit the center divider. The CHP said Nuez also slammed into Angel Gomez, who was on the sidewalk.

"The next phone call I got was from the hospital at Kern Medical Center," said the wife.

Racing to KMC, Rachel Gomez said her husband was still alive, going in and out of consciousness and asking for his daughter. But, the 38-year-old died after developing a blood clot, said his widow.

Rachel and Angel met while both were still at East High School. They had been married 11 years and had one daughter. Angel was the oldest of three children.

"He was a very good man, a very good son," said teary-eyed mother Patricia Gomez.

His family said Angel had a soft spot for those down on their luck, and would often help the homeless. Not just by feeding them, but by letting them bathe in his house.

"He was out there helping them, sharing, giving people who were hurt out there," said Rachel Gomez. "I loved that about him."

Nuez was booked on suspicion of felony DUI with injury and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He was released on bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 31.

"I forgive him, I really do," said Rachel Gomez. But, she admitted she is left puzzled why Nuez would drink and drive.

"Why would he do this? To an innocent man, wanting to come to see his daughter?" said Gomez.