Assistance fund set up for trucker who was attacked in Atlanta

| Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Friends and relatives of a trucker who was attacked by a group of teens are seeking contributions to a fund to help the independent trucker pay hundreds of thousands in medical bills. He does not have any health insurance.

The trucker, Rafael Diaz Jr., underwent more than seven hours of brain surgery after the attack on July 5. He was released from an Atlanta hospital earlier this week but still doesn’t know if he will lose an eye because of the injuries he suffered in the incident, which started with teens shooting fireworks at him as he drove a tanker of diesel along the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.

Diaz apparently lost control of his rig when a bottle rocket was shot into the cab of his truck and exploded near his face. The tractor and tanker went down an embankment and rolled, with the tanker losing some of its load of diesel.

The crowd of young people then turned their attention to the 29-year-old trucker who was begging them for help with his injuries. They reportedly beat him, threw rocks at him and stole his wallet. When firefighters and police arrived at the scene several of the young people had climbed on top of the tanker and were “rejoicing, partying, you know,” Diaz told local media.

Police later arrested one person and charged him with reckless conduct and released him on a $1,000 bond. A 16-year-old boy turned himself in to juvenile authorities Saturday, July 9, after a warrant for him was issued listing possible felony charges of terrorist threats and acts and robbery. A judge will determine if he will be charged as an adult.

Diaz is currently off the road. To make a contribution to help with his expenses, contact any Bank of America location in metro Atlanta and tell them you want to make a donation to account number 00 33 40 28 21 21.

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