Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision title=
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision
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Jakob Ramirez with his family in the hospital (courtesy photo)

By edhat staff

A local teenager is recovering after sustaining life-threatening injuries from a hit-and-run collision in December.

On December 21, 2019, an edhat reader reported seeing a man driving a vehicle make an illegal u-turn in front of a motorcyclist near Mesa Park. The motorcyclist was thrown from the impact. The driver was seen getting out of his vehicle, looking at the rider, and fleeing the scene.

The motorcyclist, 19-year-old Jakob Ramirez, sustained extensive injuries including a fractured spine, fractured shoulder, three fractured ribs, punctured lung, collapsed lung, and a concussion. He was transferred to Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles and spent the holidays with his family inside the hospital. The surgery to his shoulder alone required three metal plates and sixteen screws.

Ramirez's motorcycle following the collision (courtesy photo)

"Those who know Jake know he’s a fighter," said his mother Angelica. "Jake is now facing a much more serious challenge, but he's doing so with the same good nature, faith, and determination he's known and loved for."

Ramirez graduated from Dos Pueblos High School and was hailed as an outstanding quarterback for the Charger's Football team, leading them to the CIF Championship game. While continuing his education, he has also worked at Zodo's Bowling & Beyond, Backyard Bowls and volunteered at UCSB Summer Camp and the YMCA.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office had a warrant out for the suspected driver, Rafael Harper, on suspicion of a felony hit and run. The Ramirez family has stated Harper was uninsured, driving an unregistered vehicle, and had his driver's license revoked. 

Rafael Harper, aka Rafael Jimenez (Photo: SBSO)

After approximately three weeks on the run, Harper was arrested before being released back into the community. This caused more stress for the Ramirez family as Harper also reportedly has a prior history of victim intimidation and willful cruelty.

Angelica expressed frustration with the Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office and the development of this case. She stated the family was asked to stay quiet about the accident so law enforcement could find the suspect. When Harper was arrested, Angelica stated the family was once again asked to stay quiet so it wouldn't affect a jury selection if the case got to that point.

"Because of the financial hardship and frustration with the constant delays and minimal information given to us, we decided to make this public," said Angelica.

Even with the evidence stacked against Harper and his bail being raised from $50,000 to $100,000, he was released from jail without posting bail due to an infection on his leg. He also was not required to have a GPS or monitoring system even though he previously evaded law enforcement, said Angelica.

A preliminary hearing took place on Friday where the District Attorney's office hopes to get the maximum sentence due to Harper's prior crimes. A request to the probation department was added for increased supervision. 

Harper will be back in court on March 27 for arraignment. 

The Ramirez family with Jakob wearing #8 on for the Dos Pueblos Charger's football team (courtesy photo)

Ramirez's uninsured motorist policy only covers $15,000 for medical expenses and will offer a medical lien to be paid back by the State, but does not cover the cost for a replacement vehicle. The District Attorney's Office has warned the family if they are awarded a financial settlement, it would be nearly impossible to collect it from the suspect. 

"We are facing financial hardship as we are expending a lot out of pocket since the week leading up to Christmas. We continue to drive to Los Angeles for treatment, follow-ups, and clinicals and he has a few sessions a week of physical therapy. This new reality is stressful and depressing and I’m trying to lift my son's burdens and spirit through the financial hardship and frustrating legal proceedings that are just beginning," said Angelica.

The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with medical expenses as Ramirez works towards a path of recovery.

Last week, Ramirez's doctors stated they were pleased with his progress and cleared him for light activity as strengthening was introduced during physical therapy. He's hoping to be fully cleared to use the gym by this summer.
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a-1594606178 Mar 12, 2020 08:45 PM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

"If the victim was a woman, Dudley would be all over it." I wish it were true. The DA's office has an entire "Human Trafficking" unit, as well as a misnamed "Witness Protection Program," well funded based upon that misunderstanding of her priorities. Dudley reins supreme over a very corrupt DA's office (I've worked with great people who have worked for her and have some pretty horrible stories of the corruption). Her choices of which cases to prosecute are made purely on her personal agenda. It's a shame - I actually supported her, as I fell for the false claims regarding prioritizing stopping violence against women. Haven't seen that in my work at all - but maybe it's just that she doesn't like brown women and girls?

a-1594606178 Mar 12, 2020 02:26 PM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

This state is unbelievable. This justice system is unbelievable. It just doesn't pay to be "good" anymore. It's like a live-and-let-live jungle where wrong-doing just isn't punished like it should be... not enough to deter those behaviors. Didn't our community just lose that beautiful couple with 4 beautiful children to the same type of thing? Shameful.

mattyboy Mar 11, 2020 07:52 PM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

Guy needs that smirk wiped off his face with a shovel. The car he was driving should be impounded and sold to recover expenses, and anything else this fool owns as well.

pstarSR Mar 12, 2020 10:30 AM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

actually they are not hard to see if you are looking. seriously, LOOKING moving your head on your neck. physical objects are not hard to see, if you look for them.

Ms.JBG Mar 11, 2020 01:08 PM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

This poor family. Dudley needs to go. I did NOT vote for her last time around and can’t wait til her time is up. I feel like she is spending too much time working with non-profits and needs to refocus on some real justice...

CoastWatch Mar 11, 2020 01:00 PM
Local Teen Recovering from Hit-and-Run Collision

This is how the "judicial system" works in the State of California- The perpetrators recieve more rights than their victims. It is unjust and cruel and gives criminals a sense of empowerment like never before in our State... Thank Moonbeam, Gavin, Kamela Harris, Hannah-Beth and other State "legislators"...

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