MANCHESTER — A city man is nursing injuries and facing surgery after he saved a woman by pushing her out of the path of an oncoming car early Sunday morning and was hit himself.
The impact sent Abraham Santiago, 23, 10 feet up into the air and briefly knocked him out. The vehicle, described by witnesses as a dark-colored Explorer or Expedition, did not stop.
"I saved a woman's life and screwed up my own," said Santiago who has no health insurance and whose injuries prevent him from going to his job at R & D Enterprises in Londonderry. So far, he said, medical bills total $5,000.
The muscles on the left side of his body were bruised when he came crashing down onto the pavement, breaking his wrist, which will require surgery to repair, he said.
The incident happened about 2 a.m. Sunday at Union and Central streets. Santiago was at a party when his friend, Geanary Arroyo, 20, began crying and left the gathering.
He followed her to see if she was OK. They walked out of an alley, just south of Laurel Street, and started to cross Union Street, near Central Street, when Santiago said he noticed a Ford Expedition about 50 feet away heading toward them.
Santiago said he waved at the vehicle to draw the attention of the driver, but when he and Arroyo were three or four feet from the sidewalk, the SUV swerved toward them. He said he shoved Arroyo out of the way and then he was hit.
"I owe him everything," said Arroyo. "He saved my life."
She said she was just ahead of Santiago as they crossed Union Street, and didn't notice the vehicle until Santiago said something.
"I looked and I just saw lights," she said. "Then I was on the ground. I turned around and I looked and I saw the car hit him."
For a second, Santiago was pressed against the front of the car before he went airborne.
"It didn't even brake," she said of the SUV. "It just hit him and kept driving, like it was nothing."
Lt. Maureen Tessier said there were witnesses who confirmed Santiago's account.
Tessier said witnesses described the SUV as a dark-colored Ford Explorer or Expedition, with a shiny or chrome grille. No one could give police a description of any of the people in the SUV — a driver and one or two passengers.
The Ford had New Hampshire license plates; the first three numbers are 338.
Santiago believes the SUV was a 1998 Ford Expedition with a grille outlined in gold trim.
He's hoping the driver, if caught, will have insurance to cover his medical bills.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at 668-8711 or Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040 or online at manchestercrimeline.org