JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A military veteran in a wheelchair was seriously hurt by a hit-and-run driver in New Jersey.
The crash was so strong that the wheelchair was destroyed.
On Tuesday, the man had a message for the driver who was still on the run.
Vernon Elliott is in Jersey City Medical Center’s ICU with a broken leg, shattered ribs, a collapsed lung, and bruises all over his hands.
“You hit me,” he said speaking exclusively with CBS2’s Christine Sloan, “Thanks to you I am no longer in a wheelchair, but on my back in the hospital.”
The 68-year-old was in his wheelchair Friday morning, when police say a white Ford Windstar hit him near Clarmont Ave and Kennedy Boulevard, and fled the scene.
His wheelchair was split in half.
“I was riding my wheelchair in the crosswalk, halfway across the street in the crosswalk, when something hit me. Broadsided me on my left side and knocked me and my wheelchair halfway across the street.
The Air Force veteran and retired Federal Reserve worker was heading to a senior center where he’s known as the ‘music man’ because he plays tunes for everyone.
Despite the massive blow, the feisty senior was able to call his wife, a pastor, who rushed to the scene.
“I managed to get up with a broken leg. I had several broken ribs,” he said.
“When I talked to him, I figured he’s talking, he knows where he is, that is a good sign for me,” Rev. Mona Fitch-Elliot said.
Police said they got a good description of the car from a witness. Elliot is asking the driver to turn him or herself in.
“I’d like to tell him, you’re going to be found. You’re going to pay for this. This hurt, you broke my wheelchair which is my only means of mobility, my wheelchair,” he said.
He’s hoping to get out of the hospital, but knows with all his injuries it’s going to be a long recovery.
Elliot said he is going to reach out to the veteran’s department to get a new wheelchair.