NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A mother is on life support and her young son is recovering in a hospital after they were both struck by a hit-and-run driver in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls Police are turning to the public for help finding the driver. Authorities have a few clues, but have not made an arrest. They believe the driver knew people were hit but just kept going.
Investigators say 26-year-old Nicole Rodriguez and her 6-year-old son were carrying some groceries home when they were hit by a driver who didn't stop on Hyde Park Boulevard. One witness who heard the crash ran into a nearby store screaming.
Drayana Butler said, "She thought she heard another car accident, like a car hit another car. And I guess she ran out her and saw the lady lying in the street and her son was sitting on the curb."
While the boy just may have been grazed, and is now staying with his father, Nicole Rodriguez was hit hard and then may have been dragged after the impact.
Niagara Falls Police Officer James Van Egmond said, "Normally when a pedestrian is struck, they'll get somewhat catapulted up on to the top of the vehicle. There was a little bit of evidence that there could have been some drag in there. Something could have been dragged, whether she got hooked onto something or just her body itself sliding on the roadway."
Store surveillance cameras were rolling and some of the crash scene was recorded by one of them, showing activity on the street at the time of the accident. Witnesses knew the mother would be fighting for her life. Police originally told News 4 that Rodriguez had passed away. However, her family tells News 4 that Rodriguez was declared brain dead on Tuesday around 7:30 p.m. at ECMC, but currently remains on life support.
Police have recovered red or maroon paint chips from the car as well as window glass and a plastic piece from a light. They are also talking to a woman who saw a man get out of a red or maroon car and check for damage. It was just before the sirens sounded from police cars.
"You would think they knew they hit something and made the choice not to stop and to continue," said Officer Van Egmond.
Police are looking for an older model maroon or red car with front end damage and a broken window. If you know anything, call the Niagara Falls Police Traffic Bureau at 286-4563. Investigators say your calls will be confidential and all leads will be checked out.
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