A local family is asking a driver of a vehicle they say left the area after hitting and injuring their 14-year-old son to identify himself to police.
Kate Hamernik said the driver struck her son Silas, an eighth-grader at Dolores Huerta Middle School, at about 2:22 p.m. last Saturday, April 17, while he was crossing the street on his bike on the corner of Clark Avenue and Buena Vista Street. The driver allegedly asked Silas if he was OK, Kate added, and when the boy answered in the affirmative, drove away.
But after Silas Hamernik returned home — calling his parents and insisting he didn’t need them to pick him up — Kate said his foot was swollen. The parents took their teenager to an urgent care center, where they learned Silas had a minor sprain in his foot along with scrapes and bruises. He needed crutches this week but was recovering, Kate Hamernik added.
“He was obviously just in shock from what had happened,” she said. “I think it just happened so fast, and then he was running on adrenaline.”
In California, drivers involved in a collision that results in injury must report the incident to police within 24 hours. Kate Hamernik said she’s upset that the driver left without contacting law enforcement or helping the boy call his parents.
“If I wanted to have the best idea of what you were doing in that situation — because it doesn’t look like you were being a decent human being — but maybe you were in shock, too,” she added, referring to the driver. “And maybe you’ll wake up one day and you’ll say, ‘I should probably call the police, because maybe the kid was super hurt.’ But at this point, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Traffic camera footage of the accident shows a gray or silver vehicle — which Kate Hamernik believes is a Toyota Tacoma with an extended cab and camper — making a left turn onto Clark Avenue as Silas attempts to cross the street via the crosswalk. The vehicle appears to clip the boy’s bike, causing him to fall onto the ground.
A passenger gets out of the now-stopped car, the footage shows, and walks to the front of it to examine the bumper before returning to the vehicle, while the driver’s door can be seen opening. The driver of another vehicle steps out to talk to the teenager, who quickly stands up and returns to his bike. Silas Hamernik then rides away as the vehicle that appeared to hit him continues down Clark Avenue.
The entire incident occurred just seconds after a police vehicle is shown driving through the intersection.
Sgt. Emil Brimway of the Burbank Police Department confirmed that a police report regarding the incident was taken, but gave no further details. Kate Hamernik said a detective contacted her this week to discuss the case after the family reported the incident on April 17.
She added that she hopes the driver of the vehicle learns that her family wants him to contact the police, adding that she believes his doing so would lead to a sense of resolution for the family.
Kate Hamernik also acknowledged that her son’s injuries could have been much worse, but said she wants the driver to help pay for his medical bills and the damage to Silas’ bike.
“It would restore a little of my faith in humanity if they did contact the police and were … sorry. And then obviously take care of the problem,” she said. “That would be easier than trying to track them down.”