Ines Diaz’s goal in life is to help a million animals before she dies, a goal she may still work toward after surviving a hit-and-run crash that killed her newly adopted German shepherd.
Diaz’s boyfriend, Ebuka Ikeh, said the 32-year-old was severely injured in Sunday’s crash, when a gold Saturn sedan sped off after hitting Diaz, who was walking the couple’s dog, a German shepherd named Tyger. In the days since, Diaz has been awake but confused, suffering from a severe concussion with spinal and head injuries, Ikeh said Tuesday evening.
“We’re hoping for the best,” he said. “Everyone is trying their best to get her in the best possible shape she can be in.”
North Las Vegas police have said she is in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center.
Ikeh and his girlfriend are animal lovers who run a company called Aidpets while working other jobs. The company prints pictures of pets onto canvases and sells other pet-related apparel, Ikeh said. The two donate 20 percent of every sale to charity organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas.
The couple started the company after adopting Tyger about eight months ago, he said. Diaz often watched videos about animal cruelty on Facebook, and she wanted to do something tangible to help animals.
“She’s the actual brain behind the whole concept,” Ikeh said, adding that he worked to develop the website.
When Diaz and Ikeh wanted a companion for Tyger, they adopted Aria, a female German shepherd who they didn’t realize was pregnant when they took her home about three months ago.
It was because Aria had just given birth that Diaz was walking Tyger the day of the crash — she normally takes the dogs to a park, but Aria needed her rest on Saturday, Ikeh said.
According to a GoFundMe that Ikeh set up to help with future medical costs, Tyger was killed when he “jumped in between her and the car to save the life of his mum.”
Ikeh said he started the fundraiser to “make sure she’s pretty much good, (and) she doesn’t have to deal with anything when she comes out of all that pain.”
As for Tyger, although the couple only knew him for less than a year, the German shepherd “knew we loved him,” Ikeh said. He described Tyger as a playful dog who didn’t like to be left alone, and could learn a new trick in less than a day.
“He was really special, and he was a good dog,” Ikeh said.
The gold Saturn sedan that hit Diaz about 10 a.m. Sunday was found later that day near Martin L. King Boulevard and Washington Avenue, less than 2 miles from the crash scene in North Las Vegas. Police are still working to identify a suspect, police spokesman Eric Leavitt said Tuesday.
The Saturn, which struck Diaz on the sidewalk of Carey Avenue, was seen in surveillance footage fleeing onto Lexington Street after the crash.
Ikeh said he wants Diaz to heal so she can continue her dream of saving animals in need, possibly by starting a charity foundation in Tyger’s name. Ikeh said she would talk about helping “a million animals” in her lifetime.
“We have to bring that dream to life,” he said. “She told me, ‘Whatever we do this is the dream, and this is where we want to work toward.’”
North Las Vegas police have asked anyone with information about the crash to call the department at 702-633-1017 ext. 5116 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.