BERKELEY --Monique Porsandeh has no ill will for the person who ran her over and left her for dead at 2 a.m. on a San Francisco street in February. But her friends want justice.
The 26-year-old Berkeley resident and UC Berkeley neuroscience researcher suffered a traumatic brain injury, a shattered pelvis, a shattered leg, a broken back and several broken bones when a vehicle struck her at the intersection of Green and Fillmore streets. A second pedestrian also was hit but had injuries far less severe.
"I have no anger toward the person who caused me this pain and financial burden. I really don't," said Porsandeh, who recently stood from her wheelchair for the first time since the accident. "I would just like to look him or her in the eyes. That would provide me with some much needed closure. It may sound strange, but that's how I feel."
Porsandeh's friends want police to catch the driver and make an arrest.
"We want to find the driver," said Porsandeh's friend and former UC Berkeley roommate Sunny Lai, also of Berkeley. "I feel like a lot of these hit-and-runs they often don't get solved and the victims have to deal with the consequences. So it's really tragic."
On July 13 at 4:30 p.m. Porsandeh's friends will rally at the intersection where she was hit to bring attention to the crime so that police can make an arrest.
Meanwhile Porsandeh is in a Los Angeles rehabilitation center learning how to sit, stand, walk and perform other basic tasks. In addition to the rally, Porsandeh's friends are raising money for her medical bills and have brought in $16,000 toward a $50,000 goal.
Although police have no leads on the driver, they do know some things and are asking for help in tracking the person down. Through video and parts of the car left at the scene, police know the driver was in a dark-colored Honda Accord sedan from 2008 through 2012 which now has major damage to the right front headlight area, the right front fender, the right side of the hood and the passenger-side window.
"It's just common decency to stop and render aid to someone who has been struck by a vehicle," said San Francisco police Sgt. Dennis Toomer. "What else can you say? It's an egregious crime."
Toomer said if a driver of the vehicle is found and arrested, he or she will face felony hit-and-run charges and lesser charges of speeding and failing to drive with due caution when a pedestrian is in the road.
San Francisco police are asking anyone with information on the driver to call 415-575-4444 where they can leave an anonymous tip.
Porsandeh's friends have created a website to raise money for her medical expenses at www.youcaring.com/helpmoniqueheal.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley and the Oakland school district. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him on Twitter @Douglasoakley.