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December 5, 2012

Father searches for answers to son’s hit-and-run

By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer

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Father searches for answers to son’s hit-and-run
Erik Parker, 16, was the victim of a hit-and-run incident Nov. 14.

EASTPOINTE — An Eastpointe man is searching for answers to why the driver of a white Ford truck didn’t stop after hitting his son while he was riding his bike home from the gym one night a few weeks ago.

Erik Parker, 16, survived the incident with only bumps and bruises — most of them have already healed — but his father is still troubled with questions. 

“Was the guy trying to hit him? Accelerating to get through a left turn? Did he do it on purpose? Did he not see him? He had to have seen him,” Daniel Parker wondered aloud from his kitchen table.

The incident happened a little after 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14.

“He was coming back from the gym, Snap Fitness on Gratiot, and he was cutting through the back sub off of 10 Mile, riding his bike on the sidewalk coming southbound on Cushing,” Daniel, 47, said.

The truck hit Erik while he was crossing the intersection at Cushing and Hauss. Erik said he saw the truck coming, and he tried to react but couldn’t get out of the way in time.

“I seen the car and I thought he was going to stop, but then I heard he accelerated because it was a louder truck. … I got clipped by the right light on my right side,” Erik said.

The force of the impact threw him back about five feet.

“I kind of sat there for a second,” he continued. “I hit my head, and my head was scratched up and my arms were scratched up.”

Erik tried to get a good look at the plate, but the truck was driving out of sight by the time he looked up. He did get a description of the truck, though. He described it as a newer model white Ford F-250 or F-350 with a diesel engine.

“I knew it was diesel because of the way it sounded,” Erik said. “If it wasn’t a diesel, I probably wouldn’t have seen it. It was white. It was a white male. It had really dark windows but I could see him because he was white in the windows. There wasn’t anything noticeable, except it was really clean. I think it was a Super Duty.”

“Erik knows his trucks,” Daniel said.

There were no reflectors on the BMX-style bike Erik was riding, but he swears the driver saw him.

“I was wearing an orange jacket and I was under a streetlight, so the guy had to see me,” he said.

The Parkers filed a police report that night, but the police said there wasn’t much they could really do.

Without witnesses, a plate number or proof that the driver accelerated to hit Erik on purpose, there isn’t an easy way to find the man who was driving the white Ford truck that night, or much of anything to charge him with.

“Unless there was damage to the truck or the man lived right in the neighborhood and they saw him again, it would be very difficult to prove anything in court,” said Lt. Dave Ernatt of the Eastpointe Police Department.

Ernatt added that, even if they did find the driver, he wasn’t sure if anything would hold up in court because, if the incident occurred where Eric said it did, then the driver had the right of way.

“Apparently Mr. Parker was riding his bike southbound on Cushing and the truck was traveling eastbound on Hauss when it struck him in the intersection,” Ernatt said. “There is no stop sign headed in that direction on Hauss. The truck had no stop signs or anything like that. But there is a stop sign on Cushing. So the bike should have been the one to stop.”

Ernatt added that, if the driver intentionally struck Erik, it would be a different story, but still one that’s very difficult to prove.

Daniel is hoping someone saw something, though, and that maybe they’ll speak up, so no matter what the reason for the incident, the driver is held accountable.

“If he did it on purpose, hopefully they give him a ticket or whatever they can,” Daniel said. “If it was an accident, obviously he needs to be more careful. He should have at least stopped to see if Erik was OK. Even if he was scared, he could have called the police later to report it. It’s just not right to take off.”

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please call the Eastpointe Police Department at (586) 445-5100.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sara Kandel at skandel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.