Santa Rosa man struck while walking dogs recovering after surgery

  • Mario Molinari comforts his dog Kira as the two recover at home in Santa Rosa on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Molinari was walking his dogs when he was struck by a car while crossing the street on Tuesday. Although Molinari says he walks over 20 miles a week with his dogs and being attentive while crossing the street is important for pedestrians to remember. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa nurse Mario Molinari, 52, was three miles into his daily walk with his two dogs when he made a decision.

The light at Fountaingrove Parkway and Rincon Ridge Drive had just turned green, but he hadn't had time to hit the crosswalk button. Should he run or wait?

It was a moment of decision most people have faced while walking up to a green light.

"It had just turned green, so I went," Molinari said.

He nearly made it across the road before he was hit by an oncoming driver last week. The driver fled the scene and was later apprehended.

After surgery for facial lacerations and treatment for knee injuries, Molinari is recovering at home.

"I'm glad I'm alive, and it teaches me to be more careful," Molinari said.

Molinari was struck by driver Reyna Gutierrez, 42, of Healdsburg, who police said fled the scene and was later arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run causing injury.

Gutierrez, who is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Sonoma County Superior Court, is free on $20,000 bail.

In an attempt to prevent such accidents, Santa Rosa police will conduct a two-week enforcement operation in June targeting pedestrians who violate traffic laws and motorists who put walkers at risk.

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