BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — Authorities with California State Parks are seeking the public's help identifying a suspect in a hit-and-run that occurred on Lake Oroville on Saturday, May 29, which left a man seriously injured.
In a press release, California State Parks said the incident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. on the water near the Highway 162 suspension bridge.
Randy Mitchell said he was hit by the boat when he fell off a jet ski he was riding with his daughter, Reyna Ramirez.
"I thought he was going to die," Ramirez said Saturday. "I just kept telling him, 'I love you, you're going to be OK, you're going to be OK.'"
Speaking from his room at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, where he was transported by helicopter one week ago, Mitchell said he had undergone surgery twice for injuries to his lungs. He also suffered an injured spleen, six broken ribs and needed dozens of staples to mend cuts from the propeller.
"This thing hurt so bad," Mitchell said. "It was that feeling of getting hit so hard, you know, getting the wind knocked out of you."
California State Parks Superintendent Travis Gee said peace officers are investigating the incident as a felony.
"No lead is considered too small or insignificant," Gee said. "We try to follow up on everything that we can."
Mitchell says he's lucky the propeller didn't injure him any more severely and that his daughter was there to get him back to shore.
"She's my true little hero," Mitchell said.