Stranger donates electric wheelchair to man injured in hit-and-run crash

MIAMI (WSVN) - A wheelchair-bound man has received a generous gift from a stranger after he was struck in the street in a hit-and-run crash.

Ronald Ephord has cerebral palsy, and lost the electric wheelchair he was traveling in when he was hit crossing the street, Tuesday. A Pompano Beach resident saw his story on 7News and wanted to help replace what was destroyed, Friday morning.

“You can feel the love,” said Tracey Thomas, the victim’s mother. “You can feel it, you can feel it. I’m walking through here, coming down, and the lady just hug me and said, ‘I’m sorry about your son.’ I mean, love is everywhere.”

Her 27-year-old son is recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital after the crash, which happened along Northwest 46th Street and 23rd Avenue.

Ephord said that the driver who hit him drove off. “They were yelling at the driver, telling the driver, ‘Hey, you got hit, you got hit that man,'” he said.

After Thomas spoke to 7News, she said she started to get calls from strangers. “Everybody is showing love,” she said.

On Friday, Brian Gillen drove down from Pompano Beach to give Ephord an electric wheelchair.

“My son and my wife woke up and saw your story on the news, and we had a chair that looked exactly like his, is what we thought,” Gillen said. “It was sitting in storage. No one was using it. We figured that he could definitely use it.”

The wheelchair belonged to Gillen’s father-in-law. “I saw what happened to her son, thinking about my father-in-law as well, so he would have wanted her son to have it,” he said.

Gillen was close with his father-in-law, who passed away about a year ago.

Thomas expressed gratitude for the Gillens’ donation.

“I just want to say thank you because what happened is hard,” Thomas said to Gillen, “and you showing that there’s people that care and got love for people. Not everybody is bad.”

Ephord is set to be discharged from the hospital soon.

If you have any information on this hit-and-run crash, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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