A sign asks for the public's help in finding a hit-and-run driver who struck a pedestrian on Friday night near the corner of Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue. (photo by Daniel Archuleta)

COLORADO AVE — The producer of classic cartoons from the 1980s and ‘90s was in a medically-induced coma over the weekend after being struck by a car in an alleged hit-and-run early Saturday morning.

Roger Slifer was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in critical condition after a witness called the police at 12:57 a.m. to report the accident.

Slifer, 57, had spent the evening with friends at Rusty’s Surf Ranch listening to music, said Barry Dennis, one of the people who had been with him that night.

A group left the restaurant, but Slifer chose to stay a little longer, Dennis said.

Slifer was in the crosswalk at Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue when what witnesses described as an older white sedan made a left turn from eastbound Colorado Avenue to northbound Fifth Street at approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department.

The witness did not see the vehicle hit Slifer, but he or she did see Slifer fall to the ground as the vehicle continued driving. It was the only car in the area.

A social worker called Dennis the next morning at approximately 6 a.m. because he was the last person Slifer had spoken to on the telephone before the accident.

The impact broke some ribs, Slifer’s collar bone and his shoulder. Surgeons also had to remove a portion of his skull, Dennis said.

He and other friends have gone to the hospital every day to check on Slifer, and posted fliers in the intersection where he was struck with contact information to encourage witnesses to come forward.

Dennis and Slifer were roommates when Dennis first moved into the area. Dennis, a comic book collector, had been excited to learn that Slifer had worked on some of his favorite comics, specifically “The Defenders,” a group of heroes in the Marvel Universe that featured the Hulk and Doctor Strange.

Slifer later moved to Sunbow Entertainment where he helped produce classic cartoons like “Jem and the Holograms” and “G.I. Joe.” He also co-created Lobo, a fictional character in D.C. Comics.

He was working on a new project before the accident, Dennis said.

Dennis and some of Slifer’s other friends sought out Slifer’s family after they received word that he had been hurt.

Connie Carlton, Slifer’s sister, will be flying out from Indiana to help care for her brother.

“With a lot of prayer and support, we hope he comes through it OK,” Carlton said. “It’s not going to be an overnight sensation, it’s going to take a lot of work to get him back the way he was.”

She was extremely thankful to his friends for their efforts in caring for her brother and informing the family.

“It’s amazing what they’ve done,” Carlton said.

Dennis hopes that between the posters and the ongoing police investigation, more witnesses will come forward to identify the mysterious white car.

“It doesn’t matter if you knew them, someone hit someone and left them for dead,” Dennis said. “It’s insane that there are people out there who would do that.”


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