MALTBY, Wash. -- "It's just scary to think that it could have been so much worse," said Cassandra Aguilar, getting emotional as she talks about her uncle who was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run crash in Tacoma.
"He's been more like a father figure than an uncle," said Aguilar.
She says she's been riding motorcycles with her uncle since they were a kid. Her uncle, Herbert Otis, has a passion for bikes.
"Anytime there's a motorcycle run, you know he’s going to be there."
Aguilar says on Saturday July 21, Otis was riding with friends along Schuster Parkway in Tacoma when he was struck by a hit and run driver and thrown off his bike, severing his foot.
"His friend had to literally hold his foot so it wouldn’t fall off completely," said Aguilar.
She says his body rolled on the concrete, tearing his skin through his clothing.
"His lungs were severely bruised," said Aguilar.
She says walking into the hospital room and seeing her normally active, outgoing uncle now covered in bandages was very tough.
"I saw him there on the machines, you can’t really prepare yourself for that," she said.
Aguilar says he's had two surgeries so far, his foot has been fully re-attached but there are many more skin surgeries left.
"He won’t be able to walk for a very long time," said Aguilar.
She says her uncle recently landed a new job he'd been hoping to get, but now he has no idea when he may work again.
"Every choice that he had has all been taken from him," said Aguilar.
She says her uncle will move in with her family when he’s out of the hospital.
"He's a fighter ... He's dedicated to getting out and getting back on his bike, that’s what he’s been talking about," said Aguilar.
She says as an experienced motorcycle rider, wearing his helmet, is the reason they may be able to ride again together someday.
"That saved his life," said Aguilar.
Tacoma police say the driver that hit Otis has been identified and the accident is still under investigation.