New Jersey

NJ Hit-and-Run Victim Doctors Planned to Take Off Life Support Dies on His Own: Family

Police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver who left Giovanni Rivera on the street in Garfield, New Jersey

What to Know

  • A man with special needs who was going to be taken off life support after being struck in a hit-run in Garfield, New Jersey, died on his own
  • Giovanni Rivera's family says his condition had gotten worse and there was nothing else doctors could do to save the 42-year-old man's life
  • Police are still looking for the driver of the Chevy Suburban that hit him and his family is pleading with the person to surrender

UPDATE: Driver Arrested in Hit-and-Run That Killed New Jersey Man With Special Needs

A New Jersey man who was on life support after being hit by a driver who fled in Garfield Monday evening has died on his own hours before doctors planned to pull the plug, his family says. 

Giovanni Rivera's family say doctors were going to take the 42-year-old man off life support Wednesday, but they say he died on his own around 4:30 Wednesday morning. He had been in the ICU at Hackensack University Medical Center after someone driving a Chevy Suburban hit him around 7 p.m. Monday, then took off northbound on MacArthur Avenue. 

"They said he was conscious, then an hour later my sister called me and it was bad news, saying it doesn't look good, he has severe hemorrhaging in his brain," said brother Thomas Rivera. 

Giovanni Rivera has special needs, and the accident happened outside his group home. It's not clear whether he was trying to cross the street; residents say cars often speed in the 25-mph zone. 

His condition had gotten worse and there was nothing else doctors could have done to save his life, according to his family. 

"He's on life support. He's basically a vegetable," said distraught mother Gloria Rivera. "He's my baby, he's my life, he's my world. You took my world away, I'm not gonna have him any longer." 

Police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver. The Chevy Suburban is missing its passenger side-view mirror, and there may be damage to the right side of the bumper, hood and windshield. 

"I get accidents happen, but to do what they did and just leave him there, that's what we have a problem with," said Thomas Rivera. 

"Please come forward. Please come forward, please," Rivera's mother pleaded.

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