NEW ORLEANS (CBS Local)– A California man who visits New Orleans regularly was left paralyzed after a brutal attack where he was beaten in an apparent road-rage incident.
Authorities say the tourist remains in a New Orleans hospital where loved ones are concerned that a search for the attacker has only begun 11 days later, as reported by WDSU.
Friends and family say the 64-year-old victim, Doug David, has been visiting New Orleans at least twice a year for the last two decades.
“He goes to hear music, he goes dancing, he loves the food, he loves the people and he made a lot of friends,” David’s longtime friend Stephen Simpson told WDSU.
But now, it’s possible that the man will never walk again.
“It’s hard to believe that he’s going to be just stuck in a bed the rest of his life,” Simpson said.
Surveillance video shows David moments before the attack, but does not document him being knocked down by an angry driver who reportedly sped through a stop sign and came close to hitting him.
Police say they received a report of battery on Oct. 15 around 11 p.m., but when they arrived at the scene more than a half hour later the victim was nowhere to be found. A witness told police a black man was seen attacking a man and then zooming away in a small black car with a reported license plate XQT199.
Officials say they received a call on Oct. 26 from family members and then went to the hospital to interview the victim. David told authorities he was almost hit by a small black vehicle and then threw his beer can at the car, hitting the roof.
“The kid immediately stopped, jumped out and I was like he’s about to hit him. I knew he was going to hit him, and he hit him one time jumped back in his car and left and I watched the guy fall. His neck hit the curb and his head hit the street,” an anonymous witness recalled.
The witness then went to help David.
“I was one of the first people over there. I just asked if he was OK. He responded, he was able to talk, he told me his name and he told me where he was going,” he added.
Police say the suspect “struck him in the face/head area. The victim said after being punched, all he remembers is waking up and being unable to feel his arms and legs,” as reported by WDSU.
Friends say that David is now paralyzed from the neck down and struggles to speak. Simpson says it took police 11 days to begin searching for the suspect.
“We’re so hurt by what’s happened to Doug, that it’s easy to be mad at the police for something, but it’s really whoever did this that needs to be brought in,” Simpson said.
Police say they were unaware that the victim had been taken to the hospital when they arrived at the empty crime scene.
“It’s awful to witness it, It’s awful for our community. There was no need for it, and it looks so bad on us,” the witness told WDSU.
Friends are raising money for David as expensive medical costs build up. Simpson is aiming to raise $20,000 for the victim through a crowd-funding site. The page reached almost $12,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.