BOYES HOT SPRINGS (KPIX) – A Sonoma County man who was intentionally mowed down by a speeding driver behind the wheel of a Maserati is suffering not only from his injuries, he is devastated by the loss of his dog, who was killed in the crash. With the suspected driver behind bars, hit-and-run crash survivor Rich McCormick says he is lucky to be alive, yet he will never recover his beloved pet.
“I’ve got four broken ribs. My C-7 vertebrae is broken. My left lung was punctured and it collapsed,” said McCormick, who also has bruises and road rash all over his body.
McCormick said it was hard to walk, hard to sit and hard to cry. The biggest blow he said was losing his 9-year-old terrier mix named, Jake.
“I’m grateful that he died instantly and he didn’t have to suffer. It’s hard,” said McCormick as tears streamed down his face.
McCormick and Jake were on a walk Monday morning around 9 a.m. near the intersection of Los Lomas Road and Central Avenue. in Boyes Hot Springs. He saw a white Maserati speeding on the narrow street and yelled slow down.
“And I kept walking. And then I hear the car going and I’m thinking ‘okay, he took off.’ And the next thing I know he punched it in reverse (and struck us). From where Jake laid on the ground, I ended up about 10 feet away from Jake in somebody’s driveway, underneath their car,” said McCormick.
Good Samaritan Sam Tonelli, who came out of his home to help and called 911.
“We just tried to keep him in one place. We were worried about a spinal injury or anything that could be exacerbated by moving him around. So we just tried to keep him comfortable.” said Tonelli.
McCormick came home from the hospital Thursday night.
“Great dog,” cried McCormick, “Where’s Jake? What’s going on? Takes me a second to realize there is no Jake.”
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies put the suspect’s car information on social media and they said the tips poured in from community members.
“We do have some Maseratis in the county but they’re not a very common car,” said sheriff department spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia.
Using the tips, authorities tracked down the white car and arrested a 30-year-old man in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday. They said the suspect Juan Mendoza-Meza had a felony arrest warrant out for him and was on felony probation even before the hit-and-run crash.
“It’s almost like (the community members) put on the detective hat on and magnifying glass and were out there doing the work for us, in collaboration and helping us,” said Sgt. Valencia. He said the investigators want to thank the community for the help in solving the case.
McCormick is happy about the arrest but he still can’t understand why someone would try to kill him over such a small thing. He said he never got into an argument with the driver. He said he yelled slow down and that led the driver to go in reverse to run him down.
“I’m at a loss for words when I try to think about it. Just does not make any sense at all,” said McCormick.
Mendoza-Meza is locked up at the county jail on a no-bail hold. He’ll be charged with assault with a deadly weapon and felony cruelty to an animal.