8-year-old recovering after hit and run involving stolen vehicle

Local News

FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. (KDVR) — An 8-year-old girl is recovering in the hospital after police say a driver in a stolen vehicle hit her outside her school.

According to her teachers, third-grader Angie Gonzalez-Torres and her two older brothers were crossing Lowell Boulevard at 53rd Avenue Tuesday afternoon following dismissal from their school, Ricardo Flores Magón Academy.

“They’re walkers so they were walking home,” teacher Dawn Wimmer said. “They were getting ready to go across the street and a car came driving up going probably 50 miles an hour, swerving in and out of traffic, and her brother tried to pull her back, and she was literally in walking mode and the car hit her and she flew and hit her head pretty hard.”

Wimmer said the girl is awake, talking and expected to be OK.

“She’s doing OK. She’s at the hospital still, so they can monitor her, but she is coherent. No brain injuries,” she said. “She flew probably 15 yards and so she’s very lucky. And to not have broken bones or anything, it’s a miracle.”

Police are now looking for the driver responsible for the crash. The vehicle involved is believed to be a brown 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe with Colorado license plate AZQ027.

Suspect vehicle in hit-and-run that hospitalized a young girl (photo credit: Adams County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the Arvada Police Department, it was stolen. Det. Dave Snelling said one of their officers spotted the vehicle earlier in the day at West 67th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, recognized it as a stolen vehicle and followed it down West 72nd Avenue to Lowell Boulevard.

He said the driver in the stolen vehicle ran a red light and turned down Lowell in the direction of the school, but because the officer did not have additional resources, it did not evolve into a pursuit.

Wimmer and multiple neighbors nearby tell FOX31 they believe it was only a matter of time before a crash like this happened.

“Oh, it was going to happen. There’s no question about it,” neighbor Jim Campbell said.

Campbell has lived in the home across the street for 31 years. He said he can recall at least 30 significant accidents during that period, including drivers taking out his neighbor’s fence on nine occasions.

“We used to have flashing lights down [Lowell],” he said. “We used to have signs saying ‘School Zone 20 miles an hour.’ They’re gone.”

“I know people speed up and down the street all the time. My classroom window faces that street and I see it all day,” Wimmer said. “I’d like to see a stop sign go in there. A crosswalk so that cars are required to stop. And more signage for our schools. We don’t have very many signs and the ones we do have are kind of hidden.”

Wimmer started a GoFundMe to help Gonzalez-Torres’ family through her recovery.

She said the girl’s mother is the family’s only source of income. She works at a nearby McDonald’s and has had to miss work to be at the hospital with her daughter.

“They’ve had a lot of setbacks and she’s a single mom. They struggle. She works really hard but she struggles,” Wimmer said.

In addition to helping cover the cost of medical bills, Wimmer said the money will go toward “getting them in a better place to stay, because right now they’re in a small place and we want Angie when she comes home to be set up with a bed of her own and heat and water.”

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