Tip Leads CHP to Identity of Hit-and-Run Driver

Image of silver van near intersection.

A witness’s dash cam video of gray Toyota truck leaving the scene of the hit-and-run accident has been widely shared. / Courtesy Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Image of woman using walker with right arm in brace.

Tia Vang is still recovering from the injuries she sustained during the accident in April. / Courtesy Photo

The driver in a hit-and-run accident that injured two cyclists on Elkhorn Boulevard in April has been identified.

“We have tracked down the driver,” said Officer Greg Zumstein, spokesperson for the North Sacramento California Highway Patrol office. “And we are recommending charges to the District Attorney’s office.”

The CHP received a handful of tips from the public, after the accident was reported by The Natomas Buzz and other media, and shared widely on social media.

Upon investigation, one of these tips led the CHP to a North Highlands man they identified as the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

“I am really grateful for everyone’s help,” victim Tia Vang said from her home in Robla, a neighborhood just east of Natomas.

Last month, Vang’s family released a witness’s dashcam videos and offered a reward in hopes of identifying the driver who left the accident scene without stopping.

The accident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. on April 27 as Vang, friend Shen Lo and their husbands rode their bikes westbound on Elkhorn Boulevard. The two women were hit from behind near where Elkhorn Boulevard intersects with Natomas Boulevard, across the street from the water tank.

According to CHP’s final incident report, the driver of the pickup truck said he was traveling westbound on Elkhorn Boulevard, eating, when he heard a loud crash at the right front of his vehicle. The driver then told the investigating officer that he thought he hit a sign post, but never stopped to check.

“(The driver) related it would be different if he thought that he had hit somebody,” reads the report.

The report goes on to describe visible damage to the gray 2001 Toyota Tacoma which confirmed it was the vehicle involved in the accident. The report noted a broken right front light assembly, a dented right front bumper, a tire friction mark to the right front fender, dented right front fender, missing fender trim piece and chipped paint.

The CHP is recommending the driver be charged with vehicular hit-and-run causing great bodily injury, according to the incident report.

“We appreciate people providing information,” Zumstein said.

The accident victims are experienced cyclists who were riding single file in the bike lane when they were struck from behind. Both were knocked off their bicycles as a result of the impact and taken by ambulance to the UC Davis Medical Center.

Vang was the first to be hit and suffered a broken arm, broken wrist and fingers. She also sustained injuries to her rib cage, lungs, pelvis and spine. After undergoing multiple surgeries and spending several weeks in a rehabilitation facility, Vang was discharged home nearly a month after the accident on May 24.

Vang continues to rely on a walker and has yet to regain the use of her right hand. She continues to recover at home.

For Vang and her family, identifying the driver has brought some closure.

“It’s a little load off my shoulders,” said Vang. “Now to focus on the next step.”

A GoFundMe campaign started by Vang’s sister has raised more than $14,000.

Image of woman standing next to bike wearing biker's onsie and helmet.

Tia Vang was an avid cyclist prior to the accident. / Courtesy Photo

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