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Victim of Santa Barbara Hit-Run Continues Progress Toward Recovery

Drew Daly was near death when he was found on Cabrillo Boulevard in December

Drew Daly, second from left, and his family dropped by the Santa Barbara police station on Thursday to offer their thanks for efforts to save his life after he was gravely injured by a hit-and-run driver in December. With him, from left, are Officer Ethan Ragsdale, Police Chief Lori Luhnow, his sister, Leah Daly, and his mother, Teresa Howe. Click to view larger
Drew Daly, second from left, and his family dropped by the Santa Barbara police station on Thursday to offer their thanks for efforts to save his life after he was gravely injured by a hit-and-run driver in December. With him, from left, are Officer Ethan Ragsdale, Police Chief Lori Luhnow, his sister, Leah Daly, and his mother, Teresa Howe. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Nearly nine months after Drew Daly was found lying face down on Cabrillo Boulevard — in grave condition after a hit-and-run collision — he is walking, talking and skateboarding.

“I feel good,” Daly, 23, told Noozhawk on Thursday. “Nothing is a problem, besides my balance and anything using two hands. I’m thankful that so many people were helping me.”

The former Santa Barbara City College student plans to transfer to California State University, Northridge, in the spring 2018 semester, and major in environmental and occupational health.

According to Santa Barbara police, Daly was struck by a car at about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 while crossing the 300 block of West Cabrillo Boulevard.

The vehicle fled the scene, and emergency personnel found Daly about two hours later. He was hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Isaac Vincent Vega, 21, of Montecito is serving a 6-year prison term after pleading guilty to felony hit-and-run in the crash that left Daly in a coma for several days. Vega was arrested five days after the collision. 

Daly and his family gathered in the Murphy Room of the city's police station Thursday to offer their thanks for the work of Santa Barbara police, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the community.

Police lieutenants, captains, officers, detectives, dispatchers and district attorney’s personnel were among the more than 20 supporters. The attendees shared handshakes and hugs with Daly and his family. 

“We didn’t think he was going to survive, and to see Drew here is awesome,” said Officer Ethan Ragsdale, the case’s lead investigator. “We all have bad days, and see some of the worst while working, but this is the best. It’s about helping people. It truly was a family job well done and a huge team effort.”

The crowd gave a warm applause when Ragsdale introduced Daly.

Daly continues making significant progress toward recovery, according to his family. 

Drew Daly and his sister, Leah Daly, on Thursday during a gathering at the Santa Barbara police station. Daly is continuing to recover from grave injuries suffered in a hit-and-run collision in December. Click to view larger
Drew Daly and his sister, Leah Daly, on Thursday during a gathering at the Santa Barbara police station. Daly is continuing to recover from grave injuries suffered in a hit-and-run collision in December. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

His older sister, Leah Daly, spent multiple nights and hours at her brother’s side. She also drove him to doctor appointments.

“He has made a huge recovery,” Leah said. “He has worked hard, and we are happy he’s getting better.”

Daly's mother, Teresa Howe, said physical therapists, occupational therapists, educational therapists and cognitive therapists are doing rehabilitative work to help her son.

“Drew wants his normal life back, and because he’s working so hard, he’s getting there,” Howe told Noozhawk. “He has intensive therapy, and good professional attention working hard to regain his life.”

Howe expressed her gratitude to the Santa Barbara police.

“It was a horrific situation, but I knew we were in good hands,” Howe said. “We are grateful for their hard work.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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