Father beaten, left on the side of the road

CHAPEL HILL Randy Roland was barely breathing when Dr. Stephen Gamboa, a resident at UNC Hospitals, found him around midnight Tuesday. Gamboa had just wrapped up a long shift and was driving along Franklin Street, when he spotted Roland just as another witness called 911.

"Hi, I work at the Local 506, we've got a guy outside ... I don't know if he fell or what, but he's lying in the road and he's got blood coming out of his ear and I can't get him up," said the witness to an 911 operator.

Gamboa ended up driving the 39-year-old father to the ER. According to Chapel Hill police, Roland is the victim of a brutal assault and is suffering from a severe brain injury.

"This kind of situation is the kind of thing emergency medicine physicians are trained to do," Gamboa said. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

Roland's family says the night Roland was found started out as an evening out with friends, but at some point Roland went off on his own alone. Two hours later, he was seen with a group of men outside a bar on Franklin Street and one of the guys threw a punch.

"It was pretty devastating from what we saw, he was comatose," Roland's stepfather Randy Price said. "If it wasn't for Dr. Gamboa he would be dead."

Wednesday night, Roland's family began planning his funeral after they were told to brace for the worst. However, Thursday things seemed to turn around when Roland opened his eyes for first time.

"Today's a good day, a good day," Roland's girlfriend Summer Milner said.

In the meantime, his family is asking for the public's help to find the person responsible for the brutal attack.

"As parents you want the person who's responsible to be brought to justice five minutes after it happens," Price said.

Police are releasing few details about the attack, but they say they're following up on leads.

"If anybody walking down the street that saw Randy, that saw the confrontation, or knew anything about this, the police can take all the help that they can get," Price said.

If anyone has information about this crime, please call Investigator Lee Sparrow with the Chapel Hill Police Departments Criminal Investigation Division at (919)-968-2767 Ext. 148 or Crime Stoppers at (919)-942-7515. You can also visit www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org . Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous, and the caller may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrest.

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