DES MOINES, Iowa -- A metro motorcyclist is lucky to be alive after being hit by a vehicle and left for dead.
On Saturday night, Viken Koundakjian, 40, of Windsor Heights was traveling northbound through the intersection of Indianola Avenue and Hillside Avenue when he was hit by a car traveling in the opposite direction. Koundakjian was thrown from his motorcycle and is now in the hospital with serious injuries.
"He's pretty banged up, but he is alive and we are so thankful for that," says the victim's sister, Sarah Deeds.
Deeds says her brother is scheduled to undergo several surgeries in the coming weeks to repair his shattered foot and leg, as well a fractured elbow and vertebrae.
Witnesses who stepped in to help Koundakjian realize the outcome could have been much worse. Michael Leo was one of the first to render aid on scene. He says he relied on his former first aid training as a ski trainer in Austria to help tie a tourniquet on the biker's arm.
"His cut was on his left arm about 15 inches long," said Leo. "I ran into my restaurant, I pulled off a table cloth because its nylon fabric and easier to tie something up with."
Leo is the owner of the restaurant Strudl Haus, which sits at the corner of the intersection where the accident happened. He says this is the second serious motorcycle accident to happen there within two years and that drivers often speed in the area.
Koundakjian's family members are calling Leo a hero, but he is too humble to accept that title. Instead, he said it was an honor to help someone in need. However, Deeds wonders why the driver didn't stop to help her brother or turn themselves in.
"It's frustrating. We understand that people make mistakes, but you just need to own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions, especially when it affects so many lives."
Witnesses were unable to give police a license plate number, but describe the suspect's vehicle as a small, dark-colored SUV.
*Editor's Note: Since this story aired, police confirmed no arrests have yet been made and no suspects have been identified.