Hit-and-run driver strikes autistic Virginia cyclist, leaving him with injuries

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 18:14:26-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Debra Knesal’s heart sinks every time she looks at pictures of her nephew’s bicycle.

According to WTVR, the 24-year-old man, who has autism, was riding his bike in the Chesterfield Village apartment complex in Chesterfield County Sunday evening when police said he was hit by a vehicle. He ended up at the hospital with cuts, bruises and back injuries.

The driver did not stop to make sure the cyclist was OK –  or even alive.

“They think it’s either a truck or a Jeep that struck him,” Knesal said. “He went over the vehicle and drove off and left.”

While Knesal lays the blame with the driver, she said the Chesterfield Village Apartment complex could do a better job keeping its residents safe.

“The problem is, in this apartment complex this is the third person hit because the lights have gone out and the complex isn’t fixing it,” she explained.

A few weeks before her nephew was hit, Chesterfield Police investigated a similar hit-and-run crime.

Selene Galvan-Santos (WTVR)

That one, about a block away on Chinaberry Drive, was fatal. A makeshift memorial near the complex gate is a grim reminder of what happened to Selena Galvan.

Knesal said her nephew was able to grab his cell phone and call his mother, who tried locate him.

It was pitch black when she got outside in the apartment complex parking lot.

“She managed to barely see his cell phone light to find him out there,” Knesal said. “That’s the part that’s amazing. What if he was unconscious? He could have also died out there. How many people are going to be hit and killed there or injured?”

In Galvan’s fatal hit-and-run case, Chesterfield Police are looking for a dark-colored, foreign-make sedan with a partial license plate containing 417.

In this most recent case, police are looking for a black Jeep with a yellow tag driven, they say, by a black man with gray hair.

This loved one’s prayer is that someone steps up with the information to help bring both drivers to justice.

“Just call. Let police investigate. Don’t turn your back on this,” Knesal said. “Next time, it could be you or your loved one”.