JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An act of kindness almost turned deadly for a Jacksonville man who was helping two women change a flat tire on the side of the road Saturday night.
Investigators said 27-year-old Albert Ives was hit by a white Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above) near Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road and then left for dead.
Ives' family said the car that hit him was going so fast he was literally knocked out of his shoes. Investigators said after the impact the driver and another person ran from the scene.
"He's always helped people," said Sarah Ives, Albert's mother. "He's always done that."
Now Albert Ives (pictured) is recovering from a complicated surgery at UF Health Jacksonville to try and re-construct his foot, which was crushed by the jeep. For now, doctors have been able to save his foot.
"We're just glad to see that it's a possibility that he's going to get to keep it," said Ross Wood, Albert Ives' friend. "He's already had surgery twice and right now it's looking pretty good."
That's good because his friends said Albert is an avid basketball player and boat enthusiast. Wood, Doug Freeman and Jeffrey Ellis are Albert's closest friends and have been with him since the night of the accident, sitting through painful surgeries as doctors try to save his right foot.
"We're all just trying to be here by his side, so at least he feels like he's got some people there," Wood said. "That's all you can do at this point and hope for the best."
The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the hit-and-run accident. Troopers told News4Jax they recovered a cellphone that was left inside the jeep (pictured), but no arrests have been made in the case.
Sarah Ives said the driver can only hide for so long.
"I just hope they catch whoever did it because they shouldn't have run," Sarah Ives said. "They should've stopped and helped. They shouldn't have left him on the side of the road."
Three cars were totaled in the wreck and Sarah Ives said there was so much debris on the road the tow truck company charged her to remove it all.
Monday night, Albert's friends and family were pleading for the people involved to do the right thing and turn themselves in.
"He could have killed him," Sarah Ives said of the driver. "And just like I told my son, 'Just thank God that you are here, that he spared you.'"
Sarah Ives said Albert still has a long road of recovery ahead, but doctors haven't said when he could be released from the hospital and moved to a rehab facility.
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