A 31-year-old Merced man who suffered major injuries in a hit-and-run collision faces a long road to recovery, family members said Friday.
Joseph Baker was riding a skateboard with a friend to 7-Eleven along R Street, his fiance Katilyn McIntire said, shortly after midnight Thursday. Baker was on the skateboard when a car struck him in the 2000 block of R Street drove away, according to Merced police.
Baker's friend called 911, McIntire said, and first responders found Baker unresponsive in the roadway, according to a news release. Baker was transported to a trauma center where he was in critical condition Friday.
"His whole right side is just really broken," McIntire said, adding he had fractures and broken bones from his head to his legs.
Later on Thursday, 24-year-old Merced resident Rayawana Vance, contacted police regarding the traffic collision, the release states. She told officers she thought her 2010 Dodge Avenger hit a dog as she was traveling south on R Street. She told investigators she left the scene because she was "scared," police said Friday.
Investigators also said Baker was in the middle of the road when the collision occurred.
Officers met with Vance and saw damage to her car that was consistent with hitting Baker, according to the release.
Vance was arrested and booked into Merced County Jail for a hit-and-run resulting in major injuries and for driving without a license. She posted bail and was released from custody a short time later, according to booking records.
According to the police department's investigation, Vance was wearing dark clothing that would have made it hard to see him in the dark. Vance told authorities after the collision that she fled the scene because she was scared.
It was unknown Friday if drugs or alcohol were involved, the release states.
"I'm glad they found and arrested someone," McIntire said. "I don't understand how you hit something and don't stop. He was lucky his friend was there."
Police Officers are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Sgt. Dan Dabney at 209-388-7719, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at 209-385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “ComVIP” as the “keyword” in the text message.