Police seek hit-and-run SUV driver who almost killed man in Tacoma crosswalk

In September, a 45-year-old pedestrian was thrown 50 feet, suffered broken legs, torn ligaments and almost died

Staff writerDecember 31, 2013 

HIT CROSSWALK

Gregory Adams sits in a wheelchair on South Hosmer Street in Tacoma on Dec. 25, 2013. Adams suffered life-threatening injuries when he was using this crosswalk and was hit by a vehicle in September.

PETER HALEY — Staff photographer Buy Photo

More than 40 years after he first learned to walk, Gregory Adams is doing so again after a hit-and-run crash broke both his legs.

Police say in September a vehicle hit him in a Tacoma crosswalk and fled, leaving him with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Adams, 45, is anxious to walk again, which would allow him to get back to his lawn care business and to his family.

“It’s not as fast as I would like, but it’s coming along,” he said recently. “My bones have been healed, but I’m still unable to stand and walk. I have to get around in a wheelchair.”

A vehicle described by witnesses as a large white SUV hit Adams Sept. 8 near South 86th and Hosmer streets, throwing him about 50 feet before it swerved to avoid hitting him again after he had landed in the street, Tacoma police said. The SUV then kept on going.

No suspects have been identified, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

Adams said he had been staying at a Tacoma hotel that weekend. His fiance brought him dinner and left about 10:30 p.m.

That’s when he went to a nearby gas station to get snacks, probably the M&Ms he likes, though he doesn’t remember for sure.

Adams said he was on his way back when the crosswalk sign changed to “walk.” He said the next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital, where staff called his fiance.

“She came to the hospital thinking she would just pick me up and take me home,” Adams said. “When she saw me, she just couldn’t believe it, because I was in intensive care.”

His injuries included a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg and torn ligaments in his right shoulder.

“I can’t lift it up or nothing,” he said.

There’s also swelling in his tailbone area, making it hard for him to sit or lie on it long. He’s in too much pain to walk.

Doctors at St. Joseph Medical Center told him he would need constant care and physical therapy to walk again, but no facilities in Tacoma had space. So they sent him to Fir Lane Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shelton.

Adams said he’s been using his walker a little when his caretakers aren’t around.

“I’ve been practicing on my own, but I’m not supposed to,” he said. “I’m doing a little bit at a time. It’s still a lot of pain.”

It’s hard being away from his Tacoma family, he said, though his fiance visits when she can.

“My family is like my backbone,” he said. “I’m a family-oriented person. It’s been a real strain on her also, having me away from home.”

But he feels blessed.

He went home for Christmas with family, Adams said.

“God willing,” he wants to marry next year, he said.

She’s from St. Louis, he’s from East St. Louis in Illinois.

“I want to do it by the Gateway Arch at home. This (the hit-and-run) set me back,” he said.

He also wants to know who hit him, and why, but that depends on others cooperating with police.

“Unless somebody comes forward, there’s not really too much they can do,” he said.

Tacoma police ask anyone with information about the crash or a large white SUV — the accident likely caused front-end damage — to call 253-591-5986.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268
alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com
thenewstribune.com/crime-news @amkrell

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