NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A new picture could be the break Niagara Falls Police are looking for in a fatal hit-and-run that left a mother dead and her young son injured.
Police believe the car that struck and killed 26-year-old Nicole Rodriguez looks like a late 1990s model, possibly a Dodge Intrepid. Surveillance video captured the scene the night of the accident.
Niagara Falls Police traffic investigators were able to isolate a couple of frames that show the car believed to have just struck Rodriguez and her 6-year-old son. Rodriguez later died of her injuries.
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella said, "It's a break, hopefully that we can use for the final conclusion of this investigation. But we are still following other leads and we are still seeking community input as far as anything they might know.
Some of Rodriguez' neighbors, who lived about a block away from the accident, heard the terrible sound when she was hit. They are still dealing with the tragedy and their anger toward the driver who just kept going. Some believe Rodriguez pushed her child out of the way of the oncoming car and took the brunt of the hit.
William Kelberer, who witnessed the accident, said, "It sounded ungodly. It just sounded unnerving. It was just a very loud thud and there were no skid marks and no... just seemed like no attempt to stop."
Neighbor Kim Conde added, "They'll have to carry that around with them for the rest of their life. And poor Nicole, she did the best she could to save her child."
Police do not have much evidence from the car besides some shattered glass from a side window, the plastic piece of a fog light, and some red or maroon paint chips. That's why they are asking the public for help. They say the driver must be held accountable.
"You enter into a new arena once you know you hit something, especially a human being, and you take off, versus hitting someone and calling the police," said Superintendent Chella.
If you have any leads for Niagara Falls Police, call 286-4563.
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