NAPLES, Fla - A Naples man, seriously injured by a hit and run driver is thankful to be alive.
Early Thursday morning, Howard Van Pelt was riding a motorized scooter along Golden Gate Parkway when he was hit from behind and thrown more than 25 feet.
"The next thing I know I'm laying down on the ground and there's blood gushing out of my head," says Van Pelt. "I think I'm going to die."
The father of three can't go to work or for that matter, walk. He has a ten inch gash on his head that required 30 stitches and brace on his broken leg.
"The state policeman said he's been working for 16 years and I'm the luckiest person he's ever seen," says Van Pelt. "That car hit me going 50 to 60 miles per hour."
Van Pelt was driving east on Golden Gate Parkway going over the I 75 overpass when he was struck from behind. "I don't know how, but I rolled twice to get out of the way and I stuck my arm up. Some girl stopped her car and called 911," says Van Pelt. "If that mystery lady wasn't there, I could have bled to death."
Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol say the person responsible was driving a 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible and should have damage to their front headlights.
"They hit me, went right through me and never hit breaks," says Van Pelt. "I want the person to come forward and admit what they did."
While Van Pelt is home, he says he could have used more time at the hospital, but because he doesn't have insurance, he says the hospital made him leave.
Family and friends are working on setting up a fund for Van Pelt. As soon as we get that information, we will post it.
Anyone with any information about the hit and run driver or vehicle is asked to call Trooper David Rodriguez of the Florida Highway Patrol at 239-938-1800.