CORAL GABLES (CBS4) – Coral Gables police are looking for the person who hit a pedestrian near the intersection of Alhambra Circle and Madrid Street and left him for dead.
After brain surgery, that victim, 43-year-old Jeff Thompson is recovering; but if it weren’t for a neighbor and her dog, he might not have survived.
Roxanne Delage didn’t want to wake up at six in the morning to walk her chocolate lab Jackie last Thursday. But he insisted by sitting on her until she got up.
“I was half asleep in the morning not happy to walk my dog,” Delage told CBS4’s Natalia Zea exclusively.
While walking their normal route, she noticed her pup acting strangely.
“When we crossed the corner the dog immediately starts to focus and sniff in the air, I couldn’t understand what it was,” said Delage.
Jackie led Delage off course, to the dark street corner where Thompson was lying unconscious.
“When I looked down there was a body so I called 911 right away,” said Delage.
“(Jackie) did his job. Otherwise we would’ve walked the whole way and we could’ve walked back without seeing him, I wouldn’t have seen him. You couldn’t see him.”
Thompson is a popular bartender, at the nearby bar, Duffy’s. He was just three blocks from home when police say he was hit by a vehicle, and left in the road at least two hours before Roxanne found him.
“They believe a delivery truck or a utility vehicle of some type with the higher rearview mirrors struck him on the back of the head,” Thompson’s younger sister Leigh Copin told Zea. Copin has been by her brother’s side at Jackson Memorial Hospital ever since the accident.
“They cut half of his skull off as soon as he got here, it’s removed right now….He’s communicating but his speech is slurred right now, but it’s getting better, every day we’re seeing progress,” said Copin.
She hopes the person who hit her brother will come forward to bring her family closure, and she’s grateful to Delage and Jackie for finding her brother in time to save his life.
”Thank you aren’t even the words to say to her or her dog,” Copin said through tears. “Because I don’t think he would be here if they didn’t find him.”
If you have any information that can help, please call Coral Gables Police, or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.