Family seeks help in finding driver who fled after Md. hit-and-run

July 24, 2011

Alex Canales Hernandez, 25, was bicycling to his job at an Anne Arundel County car wash this month when he was struck by a dark-colored vehicle and died. Police said the driver fled the scene.

Now, Anne Arundel police and Canales Hernandez’s family are asking for help in finding her.

“We just want to know that someone was responsible,” said Rosa Salgado, a cousin. “He wasn’t an animal, not something you just throw onto the ground. We would just like to know who it was and that that person shows remorse over what occurred. It’s not fair that someone is able to hurt another human and just run away.”

Canales Hernandez was biking across Ritchie Highway near Bon Air Road in Brooklyn Park the morning of July 14 when he was struck, authorities said.

Police said the driver stopped, got out of the vehicle briefly, and then got back in and drove away.

Although police initially said they thought the woman was driving a black sedan, they are now looking for a dark sport-utility vehicle, possibly a Ford Escape or a Jeep Liberty, with substantial damage to its passenger-side windshield and mirror, said Anne Arundel police spokesman Justin Mulcahy.

“We understand if it’s an accident,” Salgado said, her voice cracking from tears. “Maybe her mind was somewhere else. Maybe she was late for work. We’ve all been in those shoes sometimes, and accidents do happen, and what hurts the most is that she ran over Alex like he was a pothole.”

At the time of the crash, Canales Hernandez was on his way to the Dr. Car Wash facility in the 5900-block of Ritchie Highway, Salgado said.

He suffered severe brain damage and was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Salgado said, and emergency room doctors put him on a respirator. Five hours after he was declared brain dead, family members decided to remove his life support, she said.

Salgado said Canales Hernandez moved to the United States about 2005 to live with two of his brothers in Virginia. .

Canales Hernandez worked as a dishwasher and in construction before getting the carwash job, Salgado said, and he sent money to his parents in El Salvador. On weekends he played in soccer leagues, she said.

Last week, Canales Hernandez’s family organized a vigil in Dumfries, where Salgado lives, and two wakes in Amityville, N.Y., where another cousin lives. They planned to send his body to Corinto, El Salvador, where he will be buried, Salgado said.

“He came to the States to possibly get a better life, and now he’s coming back dead,” she said.

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