SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer remains in critical condition at University Hospital after he was hit while crossing a street on New Year's Eve.
Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, said Officer Ernesto Vasquez was in a medically induced coma and had not woken up since the accident.
According to police reports, Vasquez was off duty and was attempting to walk across Blanco Road in the 12600 block just after 11 p.m. Thursday
Vasquez was hit by a small, red SUV that witnesses reported didn't have its headlights on.
The driver of the SUV did not stop after hitting Vasquez.
Helle said Vasquez has been with SAPD for eight years, working out of the East Side patrol substation, where he was well-liked by his fellow officers.
Before joining SAPD, Vasquez was a U.S. Marine and served at least three tours of duty in Iraq where he was involved in several combat operations.
Helle said SAPOA is providing food and hotels to family members who have come from out of town to be by the injured officer's side.
Helle said officers continue to hold vigil by Vasquez's bedside.
"A lot of shift mates have been there from the onset. They're kind of rotating themselves out when they have to go to work, and I know that many on-duty officers when they are able to take their breaks swing by the hospital to visit him," Helle said. "Of course, he's not able to communicate because of his condition but certainly I know that his family is very appreciative of seeing a lot of his brothers and sisters showing up."
The search continues for the driver who hit Vasquez. If the driver is caught, he or she will face charges of failing to stop and render aid and causing serious bodily injury.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case. Helle said the association will match that reward money.
Anyone with information is asked to call 210-224-STOP.