9OYS Crime Watch
Family of hit-and-run victim: driver left her "like a dead animal"
Parents plead for help from public
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A 17-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle Tuesday morning, causing extreme injuries. Someone found her near Craycroft and Interstate 10 and called for the help that saved her life, but the long road to recovery is darkened by the fact that whoever is responsible didn’t stop and isn't known.
Heather Elliott was about to take a bus to class that morning. As she waited, she was struck by that vehicle or a cyclist.
“How would you describe what she looks like right now?” KGUN9 News reporter Kevin Keen asked Heather’s mother, Mitzi Perfetto. “Like she got into a fight with an elephant and lost. She's going to have plastic surgery done on her lips. They're talking about skin grafts.”
Heather's family says she has a fractured spine and back, liver and kidney lacerations, broken ribs, a partial collapsed lung, bleeding in her brain, and a broken clavicle and shoulder.
“She looks like she's been in a fight and she's lost it big time,” Mitzi said. “That's not my girl.” Father Christopher Perfetto added: “I didn't recognize her. Her face is so swollen.”
As the family waits alongside Heather's hospital bed, they think about the person or people responsible. This was a hit-and-run.
“Whoever did this took off,” Chris said. “They left Heather lying there, for all intents and purposes, dying or dead or in what condition.”
Heather doesn't remember the hit and no witnesses have come forward, making the case a difficult one to solve. The family pleads for help from Tucsonans and others.
“Somebody came home with a broken headlight, with a broken windshield, with a dent on the side of their car,” Chris said as an example. “They showed up at work with it. They didn't have a good story about it. Somebody somewhere may know.”
“That's what we would ask the public's help for is anybody who was in the area between about 5:15 and 5:30 [a.m. Tuesday morning], if they could call in if they have any information about a suspect vehicle,” said Pima County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Dawn Barkman.
The family says they're not “out for blood,” but rather reconciliation and peace. “That's a part of the trauma that isn't going to be able to be fixed by plastic surgery or metal or whatever other goods the doctors have available to them,” Chris said. “That's internal. That's mental.”
Heather's family says her doctors say she is due for a long and painful recovery with extensive physical therapy.
"She's not mad that they hit her," Chris said. "She's upset and terrified at the lack of humanity to leave her laying on the side of the road like a dead animal."
If you have any information about this hit and run, call 88-CRIME of 9-1-1.