Crash victim's family: 'He wasn't your typical 90-year-old'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Almost a month has passed since a hit-and-run crash that left a 90-year-old man severely injured.

William Coffee is still in the hospital, and police are still looking for the driver of the van that hit him.

Coffee's daughter, Julie Bauer, still can't believe the trauma her normally active father has endured. Coffee was riding a motorcycle when the van hit him.

"All I saw were all his bloody clothing and his broken helmet," she described. "He was a very skilled rider. He's been riding since he was in his teens."

In addition to a severed leg, the motorcyclist also fractured his hip, thigh bone, a vertebra in his back and his left shoulder.

He's gone through numerous surgeries, though after making a great deal of progress, this past week Coffee was rushed to the emergency room with pneumonia.

"He was doing rehab, learning how to walk, to do everything that he's going to need to do without a leg," the daughter said, adding that he's now on a breathing tube.

Police are still searching for 33-year-old Armando Cortez of Bakersfield, who police have named as the suspect in the crash. Police said Cortez left the scene of the crash and abandoned his van a few blocks away.

The family of Coffee would also like to find a man who they're calling a hero. They say a young man was their father's first responder after the crash.

Eyewitness News spoke with the unidentified man the day of the crash: "The van, it didn't look like it wanted to stop. Because he had enough time to stop, but he didn't stop."

"My family and I want to meet with him," said Bauer.

It is believed the young man who helped Coffee that day lives in the neighborhood of the crash, near East Truxtun Avenue and Miller Street.

Bauer said her father is recovering and that as a family is taking it day by day.

"He wasn't your typical 90-year-old. He didn't use a walker, didn't use a cane, he went to work every day, he rode his motorcycle," she said. "He is my hero. I don't think I could go through what he has."