Niagara Regional Police are urging the motorist who left the scene after striking an 84-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake cyclist to turn themselves in.
After releasing photos of the type of vehicle suspected to have hit Nester Chemerika last Thursday evening as he biked along East and West Line, “We have received some tips from the community that detectives are following up on,” Const. Phil Gavin told The Lake Report Wednesday.
“This wasn’t an event that the person who was driving could say they did not know they struck someone,” he added.
“This investigation is not going away, a person was critically injured. We strongly encourage the person responsible to contact legal counsel and arrange for a safe and peaceful surrender.”
Police noted the driver didn’t offer aid to Chemerika, who was found in the north side ditch, with his bicycle nearby.
On Monday, police said the suspect vehicle is a General Motors brand SUV or pickup truck.
Investigators determined it is a 1994 to 1999 GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban or a GMC Sierra pickup and is either pewter metallic or silver in colour.
They released a series of photos of GM trucks that potentially match the suspect vehicle in the hopes that the public will recognize the truck.
It is missing an external mirror and has damage to the passenger side front corner, investigators said.
Meanwhile, Chemerika remains in a Hamilton hospital in critical condition after undergoing two surgeries for the severe injuries sustained in the crash.
His neighbour Don Lees, who has been in close contact with the family, said Chemerika was doing somewhat better.
“He had two surgeries for his arm and his leg. He has a broken bone in his face. I guess the muscle on the back of his leg was really ripped open,” he said.
An earlier police statement said the man was hit “by a truck or utility vehicle while cycling and the vehicle then left the scene prior to police arrival.”
The incident happened about 8:30 p.m.
Doctors originally worried he would be paralyzed due to broken vertebrae, which turned out instead to be “wear and tear on his back,” said Lees.
“He’s in rough shape. He’s going to be in the hospital for a while. There’s no doubt about that,” he added.
Doctors estimate he will be in the hospital for about three months and then another three or four months in recovery at home, Lees said.
The motorist fled the scene after striking Chemerika as he rode along East and West Line near Concession 2.
Police are asking anyone with information or dash cam footage to contact them at 905-688-4111, dial option 3, ext. 1009089.
Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-8477.
With files from Somer Slobodian.