The family of a young father says doctors have declared him brain dead, two days after he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver
As the family of 21-year-old Elijah Smith grieves, they are also pleading with that driver to come forward.
Rodney Smith has so much to say about his son.
On Friday afternoon, those words did not come easily.
"It’s tough. He just had a baby recently,” Rodney said.
Elijah’s son was born just 13 days ago, in the same hospital where Elijah lies on life support.
Sensitive and soft-spoken, he says Elijah took great joy in the prospect of fatherhood.
"He couldn't wait for him to be born. He was so proud at that moment. But now it's being taken away from him."
He says Elijah was working hard to provide for his new family.
Around 4:15 Wednesday morning, he was biking home from work near Woodland and Woodward avenues in east Columbus when he was struck by a car.
The driver did not stop, leaving Elijah behind with catastrophic injuries.
"If you're going to hit a person, have the decency and caring to stop, you know?” the man’s father said. “Just stop and see if they're OK."
Doctors say Elijah isn't going to be OK, news his family is struggling to accept.
"I believe in miracles. And miracles can happen," his father said.
Short of that miracle, they say the only thing that will bring them comfort is for the driver who hit Elijah to come forward.
"We're making a plea that they turn themselves in," said Brian Adams, Elijah’s uncle. "We just need a little peace of mind. We just buried our father not too long ago. And this is his grandson. And it's almost too much to bear.”
"He was here celebrating his son's birth, up in this very hospital,” says Elijah’s father. “And now he ends up here, struggling to survive."
Columbus police say the car that hit Elijah was a black 2004 Volkswagen Passat.
They say it has visible front-end damage and a shattered sunroof.
Anyone with information on the vehicle or its driver is asked to call police at 614-645-4767.
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