'(The car) stopped, and then it took off'

TROUTDALE, Ore. - Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck a 19-year-old man in Southeast Portland last week and then took off.

Kenton Lett said when the car hit him, it happened in an instant. He spent days in the hospital after the Oct. 27 crash.

He lost three teeth, broke his jaw, and his leg was broken in two places. In the darkness near the corner of Southeast 148th and Rone in Portland, the girl Lett was walking home that night, told him what the car that hit him did next.

"It stopped, and then it took off," Lett said. "So it hit me, stopped, saw it hit me and took off."

Lett's mom, Dawn, raced to the hospital and was relieved her son was alive but horrified at what the hit-and-run driver did.

"I can't imagine hitting a person and then not even stopping to see if they're alive," she said. "And we're just happy that he had a friend with him. You know, at eight-thirty on a Sunday night, a rainy Sunday night, he could have been there quite some time before somebody noticed him."

Hit-and-runs are happening a lot.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, there were more than 1,700 hit-and-run crashes statewide in 2010. There were even more, 2,446, in 2011.

"That's messed up, in my book. I mean, who hits someone and runs off?" said Kenton Lett.

"You hear about it - people hit-and-run - it seems like every night on the news you hear about it," said Dawn Lett. "And I don't - why don't you care enough about your fellow man to even just stop, and if you get caught later it's so much worse than if you stop and take care of business then."

The only description of the car that hit Lett is that it was a dark-colored sedan, maybe a Buick or Oldsmobile.

CrimeStoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information in the case.