How will they find the driver who hit Heather Elliott?
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A 17 year old girl hospitalized after a hit and run that nearly killed her: Wednesday night KGUN9 News brought you the story of Heather Elliott---her family's hopes for her recovery---and to find the driver who hit her. Now we've talked to an attorney who knows how hard it may be to find that driver.
In a moment, in the cold morning rain, a hit and run driver left 17 year old Heather Elliot wounded deeply in body, and spirit.
"She keeps asking why, why did they leave me on the side of the road. Why didn't they help me?" says her father, Christopher Perfetto.
No one's stepped up as a witness. Her father hopes someone will realize they've seen something that can lead Pima Sheriff's Deputies to the driver.
"Somebody came home with a broken headlight, with a broken windshield, with a dent on the side of their car."
"You really need a lucky break, with somebody who knows about it," says Eric Post, an attorney who specializes in civil cases where drivers hurt bicyclists and pedestrians.
He's not surprised Heather Elliot doesn't remember the impact.
"You don't necessarily have to be knocked unconscious or have a major head injury to lose the memory or not have the memory of the actual impact."
KGUN 9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "So at that moment, with all the tress and trauma going on that instant just doesn't set in your memory?"
Eric Post: "Right. The brain's just not gonna record it."
Post says when a driver hits and runs you have to hope someone saw at least a partial license plate, or they saw damage that probably came from hitting a person.
He says recently police were able to arrest a woman for hit and run after she tried to have her broken windshield replaced and workers at the auto glass shop saw her windshield had blood and hair on it.
Post says, "He called the police and then they were able to match up DNA evidence. And so, here you have a business owner who's done the right thing, who's aware that something's wrong and alerted the police."
Smith: "Does that happen fairly often that someone in a body shop will go, oh yeah, I know what innocent damage looks like and I know what suspicious damage looks like?"
Post: "It doesn't. It doesn't; and that's the sad part about it."
Eric Post worries about the CSI effect---the mistaken idea people may have, that scientific evidence will solve this case so there's no need for them to tell deputies what they know.
He knows scientific evidence is rarely as clear cut as it is in the crime shows, and besides, there will be nothing to analyze unless a tip helps them find the car.
For Christopher Perfetto and his daughter Heather, more frightening than the pain and long recovery ahead is the knowledge that someone was cold enough to leave her to die.
Perfetto says, "I want that person to have a conscience and to come forward and own up to what they did."