Hit & run driver leaves teen critical. Why no charges?
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A hit and run driver left a 16-year-old girl in critical condition Tuesday.
He didn't get away altogether.
Tucson Police say they know who he is and where he is.
But as of Wednesday afternoon he hadn't been charged.
9 On Your Side wants to know why.
The girl was in a crosswalk at Oracle and Kelso.
After it hit her, the car went about a fifth of a mile before the driver ran off the road, hit a parked car and stopped.
Then the incident became another type of hit and run, when the driver tried to get away on foot.
A motorcyclist who saw the driver hit the young girl followed the hit and run driver, caught him and held him for police.
The driver went to the hospital, but police did not arrest or charge him at the time.
"Well, I was a little surprised by that especially when you heard about what happened."
That was Edie Cussick's reaction. She works near the accident scene and wonders why the driver has not been charged based on what police already know.
"Well it does concern me. Is he going to do it again? And the first thing you think of is was he on drugs or was he drinking alcohol and why he left the scene. So I am concerned that he's out there and he's not going to try to run away again."
"Markings visible at the scene are part of the precise measurements police take as part of gathering evidence at an accident site. And police say the need to gather evidence and build as strong a case as possible is part of the reason they often delay charges."
Tucson Police say they did not have time to comment on camera.
Off camera they said they need more time to investigate, are waiting for lab test results, and sometimes delay arrests to postpone triggering time limits on processing a case.
In December, a driver killed Marta Kellog in a hit and run on Grant. Police knew Jared Payne was the hit and run driver. They did not arrest and charge him until eight days later when they felt their case was strong enough to make an arrest.
Leonard Horner also works near this latest accident scene. It makes sense to him that police would hold off on arrests until they feel their case is ready.
Horner says, "Even though we have a lot of witnesses that's just gonna give the state or whoever's prosecuting the individual a lot more power in saying that he was at fault and he needs to take responsibility."
Police say no one should conclude they are not going to file charges but a firm decision is still pending.