Tattoo artist severely injured in hit-and-run crash pleads for driver to come forward
The tattoos on Cristian Quezada's body tell different stories, but now scars surround many of those tattoos, revealing a new story.
"The tattoo that I had here was one of my favorite ones," said Quezada, who's a tattoo artist. "But, it probably won't be there after this is all said and done."
Just a week ago on Feb. 25, Quezada was hit by a driver in a dark SUV while crossing the street near W. 23rd Place and Wadsworth Boulevard.
The driver of that vehicle fled the scene. Quezada said he was on his way to meet a friend at another tattoo shop.
"I don't remember anything. I just remember being here, and my friends being around me, my family being around me, and they were telling me what happened... I couldn't believe it," Quezada said. "How do you just leave somebody there on the street?"
A Lakewood police spokesperson says the department has not been able to locate the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run.
There are also no further leads or suspect information, but despite that Quezada was cited for jaywalking. He was also left with many injuries including multiple lacerations and two shattered legs. Quezada said he is lucky to be alive.
"One of my legs looks like a clean break, a little bit worse than a clean break but it looked clean enough," he said. "But this one looks like a little bomb went off on the inside... there were just pieces of bones everywhere."
According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, in 2022, at least 109 people were killed in traffic crashes in Colorado and dozens more were hit and survived.
"I didn't know it was that common," Quezada said. "You don't really think about it until it happens to your friend or yourself, and once I knew how many times it happened last year, I was baffled."
Doctors say Quezada's recovery is going to take months.
Despite the scarring on his body, Quezada's trying to look at the bright side, hoping that whoever hit him will come forward.
"We all make mistakes, but if you do, just please own up to it," he said.
Quezada's friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help him with hospital expenses.