Family of Calgary cyclist injured in hit and run pleads for driver to come forward

A Calgary family is hoping justice will be served for their father and husband, who was the victim of a hit-and-run collision in the city’s northeast.

Alberto Vallejo, 64, was struck by a vehicle while biking in Saddletowne on Tuesday, his family confirmed to Global News.

Read more: Cyclist rushed to hospital after being struck by vehicle in northeast Calgary

His son said he underwent surgery Tuesday night and his entire left leg was badly injured in the crash.

“I’m feeling very confident and also very just stable and just knowing that he’s going to be alright,” Lance Vallejo said Wednesday.

“I’m just happy and glad that he’s alive… he’s in a better situation than what it could have been.”

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Lance said his father is still in critical condition, receiving oxygen and will need more surgeries to repair his injuries.

“I believe in compassion, I believe in forgiveness, but I also firmly believe injustice, and I’m only seeking justice for my father and our family, so that we can get everything that needs to be done,” he said.

Alberta Vallejo and his wife Tersita are seen in this undated photo.
Alberta Vallejo and his wife Tersita are seen in this undated photo. Contributed/Lance Vallejo

Alberto’s wife Tersita Vallejo said because of COVID-19 restrictions, they can’t go see him while he’s recovering in hospital, which is making the situation even harder for the already rattled family.

“He told me this morning when he called me at 6:45 a.m., that… all over, his body’s in pain,” Tersita said.

“His head is in pain, and he’s telling me that, ‘Now I cannot do the activities I can do in my daily life, because I cannot walk anymore.’”

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Alberto doesn’t currently have a full-time job, Lance said, but does some tailoring part-time and rides his bike in the Saddletowne area often, sometimes picking up bottles to return for extra money. Lance said when his father was hit, he was riding to the dollar store to pick up more thread for his sewing.

Lance’s brother Joseph said he hopes the driver will put himself in their shoes and consider what he’d do if it was his father who was in the hospital recovering from, and facing multiple surgeries after being hit by a vehicle.

Read more: Calgary police investigate early Sunday morning hit-and-run

Joseph was the first person in the family to hear his father had been hit, and said the news brought a mix of emotions.

“When I first… heard the news, I was really in shock,” he said. “I was like, anxious, I was even frustrated about, like, who did (it).”

He said the situation reminded him to make the most of his time and relationship with his father, as the outcome could have been worse.

Alberto Vallejo was struck by a vehicle while cycling in Saddletowne on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Alberto Vallejo was struck by a vehicle while cycling in Saddletowne on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Contributed/Lance Vallejo

Investigators believe Alberto was crossing 85 Avenue when he was hit by a white SUV, possibly a Rav4, driven by a man. It’s not known if Alberto was walking or riding his bike at the time.

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The driver left the scene after the collision and officers are still looking for them, and say the vehicle may have some front-end damage.

“You’re duty-bound to stop at the scene, exchange details with the other driver and certainly make sure that they aren’t seriously hurt,” Sgt. Colin Foster said Wednesday.

“Obviously, when you are getting struck on a bicycle by a car, you’ve got more chance of being injured. So there is a certain amount of onus for that driver to actually share details and wait for the arrival of the police.”

Read more: ‘They left this crazy world together’: Engaged Calgary couple killed in 85 St. crash

Foster said the moment a driver flees the scene of a crash, they are committing a criminal offence, but in some cases, if the person stays and waits for police, no charges are laid.

“No matter how bad it is, you have to stay. You have to wait for the police to arrive at the scene to do what we have to do,” he said.

Foster stressed it’s important that both drivers and pedestrians approach crosswalks carefully; drivers need to be watching for pedestrians before crossing the crosswalk, and pedestrians need to be sure drivers see them and are slowing down before they cross.

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Anyone with information on the crash or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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