Teen bicyclist hit by truck, bike was dragged for 2.5 miles in central Las Vegas

A teenager struck while riding his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver late Friday afternoon in the central valley is an avid bike rider, a friend said.

The 17-year-old was riding his bicycle north on Las Verdes Street and crossing Oakey Boulevard in a marked crosswalk just before 5 p.m. Friday when he was struck by a 1983 Ford pickup truck.

The teen was knocked to the ground, but the truck’s driver, 42-year-old Michael Pacholka, did not stop to help, police said. The bicycle was dragged about 2½ miles when it became lodged under one of the truck’s front tires during the crash. It finally was dislodged near a dumpster on Boston Avenue. The teen was taken to University Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Johanna Munoz, a close friend, said Saturday evening that “he is doing better, but still in critical care.”

Munoz said she couldn’t name the teen because he’s a minor, but she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her friend enjoys riding bikes and fixing them up.

“He had just gotten that bike not long ago,” she said. Recently, the teen even gave his ride a facelift with a new paint job. “He enjoys riding and he was really excited about this one.”

Witnesses identified Pacholka and his vehicle. Pacholka was arrested Saturday, and jail records show he is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center. He faces one charge of felony hit-and-run and one charge of driving an unregistered vehicle without a license or insurance.

Review-Journal reporter Rio Lacanlale contributed to this story. Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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