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As cyclist fights for his life, police look for driver who hit him

Jose Hernandez Solano was hit by an SUV running a red light at 60 mph.
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Jose Hernandez Solano is an avid biker who is said to be "vigilant about safety." So it's all the more upsetting that he's fighting for his life after being hit by an SUV that ran a red light.

A popular worker at Brasa Rotisserie on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, the 52-year-old was returning home from his shift just after midnight on Sunday when he was hit by a Hyundai Santa Fe, police say.

With a green light giving him right of way, Solano biked through the intersection at Grand Avenue and 7th, when he was stuck by the SUV traveling at approximately 60mph.

St. Paul police have issued video stills of the vehicle they're trying to track down, with the driver still at large.

As of Tuesday evening, Solano's condition was "grave," according to updates on a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for his care and to help his family travel to Minnesota from Mexico.

His injuries are horrific. Swelling on the brain required two surgeries, his spine has been crushed and severed, and he has multiple broken bones. "His prognosis has the odds stacked against him," the page says. He remains in a medically induced coma.

Comments from those who know him make it clear he's a popular man. His colleagues at Brasa say he "brought joy and humor" to the team since joining.

Greek restaurant Christos posted a statement on its website describing the moment Solano, a former employee, first applied for a job with them 17 years ago.

"He giggled a lot, often for no apparent reason, and it was difficult to have a proper conversation with him. But he had a disarming demeanor, so we gave him a try," it wrote.

"In no time, it became clear that this was no ordinary worker. Not only was he strong as an ox, which meant that he could move banquet furniture with great ease, he was always early and never complained about the work. In fact, he thrived on it."

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