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Let’s Get Real

I haven’t been posting much lately. I have a bunch of excuses, but my main one is that my cousin, Pepe Bolorinos, was the victim of a hit and run in San Francisco last week.


He’s alive. Still in ICU at SFGH, but alive. The driver is at large.

I’m so angry. And sad. And hopeful, all at the same time. Many of the people who know Pepe are, justifiably, furious at the driver, who has yet to come forward. But I’m not.

I’m scared to write this post. I’m not sure how much I’m willing to share, but where else would I do this?

I’m not furious because I’ve hit a pedestrian before, too.

Now, granted, I didn’t drive away. I actually got out of my car and fell to my knees and started crying.

My thoughts? Something along the lines of – How did this happen? Do I get a redo? Why did this happen to me? I’ve never had a ticket or committed a traffic violation or even been pulled over. But I hit someone.

But, the young man in my situation admitted to seeing me coming, and decided to cross illegally anyway. Luckily, I was only doing 25 MPH and he was ok. A few broken bones, but ok.

And yelling at me as he was loaded into the ambulance.

I hope all the time that he won’t run into traffic again. Use the crosswalk, man. Please, please, please.

Pepe, on the other hand, is facing terrible brain injuries in addition to broken bones. He’s been in the ICU for a week and just awoke today. He’s an incredibly intelligent human – he speaks 3 languages beautifully, plays and writes music, graduated from UC Berkley with honors.

Used to argue with me about whether or not black and white are colors 😉

And now, we’re all on pins and needles, hoping he’ll just be ok. And there’s not much to be done to help but create awareness.

I know how terrifying it is to hit someone. It’s an out-of-body experience. I’m still messed up about it. I think about it almost every day.

Then again, I have to drive down the street it happened on every day, because it’s in my neighborhood. And I have had multiple people walk|run|bike out in front of my car since. A kid jumped out in front of my car Friday while messing around with his friends on his way home from the local high school. I dodged him and I almost called the cops on him – it’s reckless and stupid to test the limits like that!

Then again, there are so many people who drive too fast, who aren’t paying attention 100%, who are reckless and dangerous on the road. If you text and drive – stop it. Now. You really don’t want to have to go through the aftermath of hitting someone. It’s scarring.

I didn’t drive for weeks after it happened. I was so, so petrified. I felt like a hazard. Eventually, I had to get over it and move on. Buck up and simply decide to be as vigilant as possible – all the time. Now, if there’s even a distraction on the side of the road, I don’t look. I keep my eyes on the road. Like, glued to it. I know this is a no-brainer, but I use the speaker-phone option for anything and everything when driving, or pull over if I need to look for directions. Siri is a big help. I always wear my seat belt. I scan every intersection for j-walkers.

It’s all common sense stuff. But, once you’ve been in this situation, you’ll never take it for granted again.

And I used to enjoy driving.

So, I guess all that’s to say that I can almost understand why someone would be too frightened to stop if they realized they hit a person. But, it’s the right thing to do on a very basic level of human morals. We can’t run (or drive) away from our mistakes. There’s no way to avoid the guilt you’ll feel afterward – even if (like in my case) the pedestrian is legally responsible for the accident.

So to the driver who hit my cousin, Pepe, and fled: running won’t make you feel less guilty. And you can’t avoid the consequences of your actions forever. Come forward and take responsibility.

You and I, we both live in 2 of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in all of California. And by not coming forward, you’re setting a standard for all other drivers in San Francisco. You’re letting people believe that they can go without getting caught. And that if you can hide, it’s more socially acceptable for them to do so as well.

I love my cousin. My family had dinner with him the Saturday before you hit him. I excused myself to take a phone call and didn’t get to say goodbye before he left. He’s such a talented and well-loved guy. He has a great family and community. We miss him.

I saw him in the hospital a day after the accident. He looked so small and I knew then how serious his injuries were. And how costly his recovery would be.

I’m not saying I want you to go to prison or whatever. It’s not for me to decide. Just come forward.

Let the rest be in the hands of God.

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