Father of injured Tucson cyclist wants help, justice

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson is a community that takes pride in being "bicycle friendly." And now an avid bicyclist is asking for the community's help. His son, was run over on his bike Friday evening.

The driver took off without stopping. The young man is in critical condition with traumatic brain injury and his father is looking for justice.

Photos show a young man happy and full of life, but now that young man is merely clinging to it.

"It's hard to look at your son and not be able to do anything to help him," said Bill Abate.

Abate says his son Samuel, a musician and student transferring the the U of A next year, always takes responsibility for his actions.  And that's why he would want the person who put him in the hospital brought to justice.

Friday evening at about 6:30, Samuel Abate was riding his bike north on Swan Road.

It's a stretch with especially wide and clearly marked bike lanes that sees a lot of bike traffic.

Reportedly, a young woman, in her late teens to mid 20s, talking on her cell phone, swerved into Samuel's lane and ran him down from behind.  Then took off.

"With so many people out there, you just can't have this kind of thing happening," said Lt. Elise Souter from the Tucson Police Department.

Samuel's head went right through the windshield.

Police believe there's a good chance someone knows something.

"Typically there's a neighbor, a friend, someone who saw this vehicle driving down the road. And we fully believe there are plenty of people out there who saw either the accident or saw the person driving with all the damage on their vehicle who has this information and just doesn't know we're looking for it," said Lt. Souter.

Bill's focus is on his son. With several broken bones and brain injuries, the recovery will be long and hard.

"The biggest fear we have is that my son Samuel will not be whole again," said Bill Abate.

And his plea to the people of Tucson is to help put the person who caused all this in jail.

"We're not a vengeful family, but it's difficult to forgive people when they don't take responsibility for their actions first.  That's what Sam would want. He believes in the truth and would seek it out no matter what it takes," said Abate.

The hit and run driver was a white woman in her late teens to mid 20s with reddish hair.

She was driving what looked like a black newer model Nissan Altima. It should have extensive damage to the windshield, bumper and hood. And the license plate possibly starts with KLC.

If you know anything call 911 or 88 CRIME.