A University at Buffalo graduate who wanted to surprise his parents over the weekend by giving them a 2011 Lexus – until a hit-and-run driver spoiled the plan – now may trade the damaged car for another vehicle.
“I spent a lot of time looking for a car that had not been in an accident,” Long Nguyen said Monday. “If it’s going to be a gift, I want a car that hasn’t been damaged.”
But Nguyen, 26, did not have harsh words about the hit-and-run driver who turned himself in to authorities Monday.
Buffalo police issued a summons to Brad Boyczuk, 21, of Orchard Park, after Boyczuk surrendered.
Boyczuk told police he accidentally struck the vehicle after getting lost in Buffalo, said Police Officer Allan Kasprzak.
Police knew, based on pieces of the bumper and headlight found at the scene, that the hit-and-run driver was driving a blue 2006 Ford Fusion.
Boyczuk’s father notified police after learning about the incident from news reports, Kasprzak said.
After police issued the summons, Nguyen didn’t speak angrily about the driver. He offered a mild-mannered response, saying the parties were working out arrangements for repairs through their insurance carriers.
He said he was grateful for the way people responded to his story.
So far this year, some 1,100 hit-and-run accidents have been reported in Buffalo, Kasprzak said.
“I wish they were all this easy, and I wish more people took responsibility for their actions as happened in this case,” he said.
Boyczuk faces a $226 fine, Kasprzak said.
Nguyen graduated Saturday from UB with a doctorate in pharmacy. He had arranged a Sunday graduation party, not so much for himself, but to present the Lexus RX 350 to his parents for all that they had sacrificed and done for him and his sister.
But before he could surprise them with the car at the party, the hit-and-run driver caused $6,500 worth of damage to the car Friday night. The car had been parked at Northtown Lexus since Nguyen bought it last month, but Friday he drove it to his friend’s house, where his parents wouldn’t see it before Sunday’s party.
Nguyen got the bad news about the damaged car from a friend before he crossed the stage at Saturday’s commencement. Nguyen had saved for years to buy the car to thank his parents for all of the hard work they had put in since they emigrated from Vietnam to Buffalo when he was 6.
They have lived on the West Side for 20 years, and for years his parents washed dishes at a former Italian restaurant to support the family. They now work at New Era Cap Co. in Derby.
“They came here for me and my sister,” Nguyen said.
He is having the car repaired and, meanwhile, Lexus has given him a loaner car to drive.
“Things turned out well in the end,” Nguyen said.