Church accident victim released |

Church accident victim released

An 83-year-old South Lake Tahoe man who was seriously injured in a traffic accident outside St. Theresa Catholic Church last month was released Feb. 2 after spending 16 days at Washoe Medical Center.

Leo Valdez was walking on Lyons Avenue when he slipped on the icy road, and fell behind a truck driven by John Cefalu, 64, a South Lake Tahoe businessman who was leaving church.

“I don’t know how I can say I’m sorry,” Cefalu said. “You can apologize, you can ask yourself how it happened, but you can’t explain it.”

Distracted by two dogs in the back of his truck, Cefalu did not see Valdez, and didn’t realize he had hit him. After backing over him, Cefalu pulled forward and ran over Valdez a second time with his right rear wheel.

Hospital spokesman John Wheeler would not describe his injuries, but a doctor on the scene diagnosed Valdez as having broken at least two ribs, his leg, and sustained serious head injuries, according to a South Lake Tahoe Police report.

The injuries to Valdez have been labeled accidental and there will be no criminal investigation.

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