LAKEWOOD – In a split second, Samuel Uribe had a decision to make. He and his 7-year-old daughter, Miriah, were in the middle of a street and a car was speeding toward them. In that split second Uribe picked up his daughter and shielded her from the oncoming car.
The car, that police say was driven by 28-year-old Ernesto Espino, never slowed down and drove straight into Uribe.
“I went flying over the car and my daughter went flying,” Uribe said.
Uribe says he and his daughter were crossing the street with the walk light when he says the car struck them.
“We had the walk signal and the car just came around the corner and I’m pretty sure he saw me because I was waving at him,” Uribe said.
After striking Uribe and his daughter the driver of the car drove away. He was followed by a Good Samaritan who alerted police to the suspect’s location. Lakewood police eventually arrested Espino when he abandoned his car and fled on foot onto the Lakewood Country Club Golf Course.
Espino is facing a variety of charges, including three charges of possession of a controlled substance and hit-and-run with failure to remain on scene.
Uribe’s daughter was uninjured. Uribe himself was not as lucky. The impact left him with a badly broken leg and as he lay in the street, doubts about whether he would make it.
“If they needed to cut my leg off that would be alright. I just asked God not to take my life because I still have my daughters and they’re young,” Uribe said.
Uribe is facing the possibility of additional surgery for his leg and three months of recovery. He will be unable to work for much of that time.
The single father’s primary concern now is how he will pay the bills. Family and friends are working to organize a fundraiser to help Uribe and his two daughters.
Uribe says the most important thing is that Miriah was uninjured.
“I did what I could, but for us to get hit like that and nothing happens to her, that was God. That wasn’t me,” he said.