ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Jason Lapitsky says there is usually no one driving in his St. Johns County neighborhood at 2:30 a.m. But the morning of Feb. 5 was different.
Lapitsky let his dog, Niko, out in front of his house to answer nature's call when he saw a sliver mini-van turn the corner on Buckeye Lane and Blackberry Lane in Julington Creek.
"The vehicle continued to speed up and was driving in the incorrect lane," Lapitsky said. "Niko took one step towards the pavement and was struck on his right side. The impact forced him down, and the mini-van continued to drive over him with both sets of wheels."
The mini-van slowed down, but then continued to drive away. Lapitsky ran screaming toward the mini-van, but the driver did not stop.
Niko was hurt, but alive.
He had suffered a punctured bladder that required Lapitsky to make a decision: put the dog down, or have him undergo emergency surgery at a 24-hour veterinary office. Without regard to cost, Lapitsky opted for the surgery.
Niko had his bladder repaired and returned home to recover. He's walking and urinating on his own and has passed a few blood clots.
"It's kind of scary how banged up his body is," Lapitsky said. "So far, so good."
Now, Lapitsky is asking the public for any kind of information about the driver of the mini-van. He has also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the surgery for Niko with a goal of $5,500.