KGUN9 viewers, family exchange moving messages after hit-and-run
Whoever hit Heather Elliott left her to die; KGUN9 viewers reach out
Notes by: Forrest Carr, KGUN9 News Director
Our stories this week about a motorist who ran down a young student and left her to die were among the top viewed of this week. They led to an amazing outpouring of sympathy on our 9 On Your Side Facebook page, culminating with a moving and very personal message to KGUN9 viewers from the family.
17 year old Heather Elliott suffered multiple broken bones including a fractured spine when someone hit her Tuesday morning on Craycroft near I10. She doesn't remember the incident. There were no witnesses that have come forward. But now Heather is surrounded, figuratively speaking, by plenty of people who care deeply about what happened to her.
Angel Pelletier writes: "Prayers for the her and the family, and to find the person that did this."
Tracy Compo writes: "That is just awful. I am praying."
Yolanda Hughes writes: "My prayers are with her and her family. I hope they find the driver."
Christine Terris writes: "Prayers for you and your family! Please keep us all updated!"
Elizabeth Parada writes: "Absolutely awful. I was involved in a hit and run on Tuesday, as well, but I was lucky. Bless her and her family."
The victim's parents also took to 9 On Your Side's Facebook page to exchange messages with our viewers about this horrible incident. Heather's mother, Mitzi Summers Perfetto, writes: "Thank you so much Kevin for posting this and helping us get the word out. You don't know how much you mean to us right now. And thank you everyone for your well wishes and prayers for Heather Elliott. She is my oldest of six kids, and the love of my life."
Karla Fourcade Alvarado responded, "So sorry to hear and such awful news to a young lady who's life is barely beginning! My prayers go out to this young lady to a complete and full recovery. To mom and dad and family my prayers for you as well to stay strong, united and have lots of patience to help her heal. I hope this coward that's left this poor defenseless and injured child is caught soon!"
Rachel Pokorny Steele also responded, "Prayers for you, your daughter and the rest of your family Mitzi!! I hope they find whoever did this and soon!!"
Michelle Bailey suspects that whoever did this was probably driving drunk. She posted this remarkable and very personal message: "I myself got a DUI years ago and gratefully learned my lesson. Not only did I pay $1500 in fines, go to jail & another $500 for DUI, AA & MADD classes but also learned how dangerous drinking & driving really IS.... Just very sad her family should get involved & tell their story to try and prevent this from happening to others because it does make a difference. Mothers against drunk driving is what really got me to take this seriously to stop drinking and driving for good. I have 3 children and when I saw the hurt on those mothers' faces in that class I took, that was enough. To this girl's family: keep faith, and when you recover from this hurt, consider trying to make a difference to stop this from happening to another innocent angel."
Chris Perfetto responded to those posts with this message:
"Early this morning the city was covered in fog. As I looked out over the city from my daughter's hospital room I again felt the anger and rage welling up inside of me. What a waste of a beautiful morning. So I imagined that the fog was a blanket, woven with everyone's prayers for recovery, peace and justice. A blanket so vast that my mortal eyes could not see any end to it, a blanket so full of strength that nothing can tear it, soil it or escape its reach. This blanket has filled me with a sense of security and peace. I don't need to dwell in the lands of anger and hostility; those are places of darkness and solitude. My daughter is alive. She is not paralyzed or missing any major body parts. Over time she will heal. We will heal together as a family. Our life will go on and be wonderful. To all of my wonderful family,f riends, coworkers, neighbors and everyone else sending prayers and helping in all ways possible, thank you, from the very fiber of my soul, thank you."
What can one say after a message like that? The hard-bitten professional journalists in our newsroom have seldom seen public postings so moving and personal.
We humbly thank our viewers for sharing these comments, and we thank Chris and Mitzi for doing 9 On Your Side the honor of selecting us to help tell their story.
Whoever did this is still out there. Our coverage will continue.