Parents want justice after hit-and-run driver left 13-year-old girl injured on side of road

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Thursday, April 1, 2021
Parents want justice after hit-and-run of disabled 13-year-old daughter
Investigators are questioning someone in connection with the case of a disabled 13-year-old girl who was injured in a hit-and-run outside of her home.

CARTERET, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police say they are questioning a driver after their disabled 13-year-old daughter was struck and left on the side of the road.

The 13-year-old girl, who is disabled, was hit in front of her home on Monday.

Her mom says she has been through 30 surgeries in her lifetime due to her condition, and now she's left with a broken spine on top of that.

"I'm relieved that it's not worse...but she's suffering," Suzanne Ashby said.

Video from the incident shows Olivia Rae trying to cross Jackson Avenue to get to her grandparents' house - four doors down from her own home.

The driver got out of the car and walked around close to Olivia before running back to the driver's side and speeding away.

"She knew she hit her, she looked at her and she ran from her, she left her there," Ashby said.

Her parents said they had no idea it even happened until the next day when Olivia, who uses hearing aids and speaks softly, finally told her mom what happened.

Ashby checked with neighbors and found the video of the incident.

"Just show compassion, it's somebody's child, she had her child in the car with her, would you want me to hit your child and leave her on the side of the road? That's heartless," Olivia Rae's father Michael Vargas said.

Her parents say Olivia's doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found a small fracture in one of her backbones.

They are grateful it was not worse.

"It's the fact that someone hurt her, it was heartbreaking, real heartbreaking," Vargas said.

The family says the vehicle was a black 2020 Kia Sedona.

Three days after their child was left on the side of the road, they were seething that the driver had not yet come forward.

"She had so much time as a human being, we all make mistakes, she had so much time to say, not sleep at night, say I can't stop thinking about this little girl, what is the outcome of the situation, she could easily going to the police department and say I'm so sorry I panicked," Asby said.

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