Family members and friends of a man fatally injured in a hit-and-run last month asked for the public’s help Friday in finding the suspect who has evaded police.
“I plea for help,” said Jose Adrian Hernandez, who traveled from his home in Mexico to St. Paul to speak about his father’s death. “I believe in this country’s justice system.”
Jose Hernandez Solano, 52, died early Thursday at Regions Hospital, where he had been hospitalized after being struck by an SUV on Nov. 26 after leaving his job at Brasa Rotisserie.
He was hit on his bicycle about 12:10 a.m. and left unconscious and unresponsive in the street on W. 7th at Grand Avenue just off downtown.
Hernandez, 26, said at a news conference with police that his father had worked in the United States for several years to support his family, which includes Hernandez’s wife, two daughters ages 20 and 24, and a 2-year-old granddaughter he never got to meet.
Hernandez Solano made “many sacrifices” for his children’s education and careers, said his son, who will soon graduate with an engineering degree. Hernandez Solano’s two brothers, a friend and a co-worker also attended the news conference.
“I just want justice for him,” said his friend David Fernandez.
Fernandez said he often biked with Hernandez Solano, who rode with a helmet and lights.
“He feels so happy all of the time,” Fernandez said of his friend.
Megan Gall, who worked with Hernandez Solano at Brasa, urged anyone with information to step forward.
“They don’t deserve this,” she said of his family. “If this was your brother, your father or your family, you wouldn’t want to leave on this note, either.”
Hernandez Solano’s organs were donated, and his family plans to transport him back to his hometown of San Luis De La Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico, according to a GoFundMe page.
St. Paul police also released more details about the suspect’s car and driving that night. Authorities believe only one person was in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Sgt. Julie Sam said surveillance video showed that the suspect’s driving was “erratic” and “reckless” as the car crossed the Wabasha Street bridge and traveled through downtown St. Paul.
The car sped, ran red lights and traveled so fast as it passed Cossetta Italian restaurant, about two blocks from the crash scene, that it appeared as a “blur” on video, Sam said.
“It’s moving so fast it’s a streak of light,” she said.
Police described the vehicle as a 2008 to 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV that is “platinum sage metallic” in color. Sam said the car has a green tint, but could look silver, gray or beige in certain light.
The car’s rims were also painted a flat black, which is uncommon for the model, Sam said.
The car likely sustained front-end damage and fled west on W. 7th St.
Police believe other witnesses likely saw the car further west of the crash scene and urged anyone with information to contact police at 651-291-1111, or the Crime Stoppers hot line at 1-800-222-8477.