Mother of Tower Hit and Run Victim Speaks Out, Says Son is Finally Responding


FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno police identified another person connected to the Tower District hit and run crime. 24-year-old Chase Popps is facing felony assault charges.

Police said he was in a fight with John Rodriguez Sunday morning. When Rodriguez fell onto Olive avenue and was hit by a car and earlier this week the alleged hit and run driver 23-year-old Jessica Acunia was also arrested.

“I have joy and hope I do,” said Natalie Ortega, victim’s mother. 

For the first time since getting to the CRMC John Rodriguez responded for his mother.

“She said john wiggle your toes and he wiggled his toes, said Ortega.

Ortega has been at the hospital with her son since the hit and run on Sunday. Police arrested chase Popps the man they say is responsible for the assault that lead Rodriguez to get hit by a car. 

“Video evidence that we have showing that Johnny Rodriguez was in an altercation with Chase Popps, this Chase Popps pushed the victim into the roadway and he was struck by a passing car who failed to stop there,” said Lt. Mark Hudson, Fresno Police Department. 

The alleged hit and run driver 23 year old Jessica Acunia along with other passengers were also arrested this week.
“Getting the suspects has made this way better.”

Ortega said she is thankful one by one the suspects are getting caught because this nightmare is all too familiar for her family.

“I didn’t get no justice for my brother.”

Her brother was killed in June of 2014 after a hit and run off First and McKinley. The person responsible was never caught but Ortega is thankful the suspects in her son’s crime is getting justice. 

“It is not right that these people do this, that someone can just hit a person and just leave him there like a dog or animal,” said Ortega. 

John has a long road to recovery but his mother is hopeful for his future. 

“Johnny is so young he has a lot more to give.”

Before the crash John was an employee here at CRMC. His coworkers are pooling their money together to pay for his December rent.

To help with the mounting medical bills the family has set up a Go Fund Me.

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