LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 14-year-old girl was hospitalized with serious injuries after she was mowed down by a hit-and-run driver and then accidentally struck by two other cars.
Ninth grader Theresa Vargas was walking home from Division Avenue High School around 4 p.m. Thursday when she was struck by a car on Hempstead Turnpike at Shelter Lane in Levittown, police said. The car fled the scene without stopping.
“When she tried to cross Hempstead Turnpike against the signal, the victim made it to the center lane where she was struck by a tan four-door auto that left the scene without stopping. The victim was thrown into the air and was subsequently struck by two other automobiles who remained at the scene,” Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack said.
Police are asking for the public’s help to find the hit-and-run driver, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
The accident occurred along a 16-mile stretch of Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County which is known as one of the region’s most dangerous for walking.
There have been 12 fatalities in the past two years, including another Levittown teen who was killed at the same intersection as Thursday’s crash.
“It’s known that if you’re not looking both ways, you’re not cautious while crossing you could get hit, cause people are blowing red lights, people are driving crazy, always texting and driving, it’s getting out of control,” student Arthur Bain said.
“It’s very dangerous, people speed all the time and go through the red light,” resident Mariette Frosina said.
“The name of the game is beat the light,” resident John Frosina said.
Pedestrian safety improvements are planned along the 16-mile stretch but the improvements haven’t reached Levittown yet, Gusoff reported.
Vargas is hospitalized with multiple injuries, including broken bones, but a family friend said the teen is expected to pull through.
“It’s by the grace of God,” family friend Susan Stalzer said. “As soon as I heard who it was, even before I heard who it was, I was praying because I know what happens along here and how deadly it is.”
Police are looking for a tan or brown four-door car that was last seen heading eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike.
“Nassau County officials are currently conducting an investigation and the district encourages anyone with any knowledge of this matter to share that information with the police. The safety and security of our students is a top priority in our district and throughout the schools we are reinforcing the importance of traffic safety,” stated Dr. James J. Grossane, Superintendent of Levittown Public Schools. “The district sends its thoughts and prayers to the family and wishes the girl a speedy and full recovery.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
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