ARLINGTON, Texas - An off-duty Arlington police officer happened to be in the right place at the right time after a driver nearly killed a bicyclist and drove off.
Witnesses say the suspect's car left a shopping center parking lot near Sublett Road and Highway 287 last Friday night and hit a young woman on a bicycle before driving off.
Lt. Mandy Baker was driving in the area that night with her teenage son when she witnessed 23-year-old Charlotte Mitchell being hit by a car. Mitchell was on her way home from work.
"It was quite obvious to me. She was severely injured. She was still unconscious at that point,” the off-duty officer said.
Two witnesses had also stopped. Baker says she thought it was a child who'd been run over on her bicycle.
"I basically did what I would hope anybody else would do for my child if they were in that situation,” she explained. “I took her hand, talked to her and calmly reassured her help was on the way.”
Witnesses say the red or maroon Toyota Corolla made a u-turn after the crash and sped away when they saw Mitchell on the road.
"The suspect vehicle apparently drove past us going eastbound on the shoulder on the grass at a high rate of speed,” Baker recalled.
Since the crash, Baker says she’s made a deep personal connection with Mitchell and visited her in the hospital as she recovers.
"We're calling her her guardian angel on Earth,” Mitchell’s mom said.
"Holding that little hand and making that personal contact, I just couldn't shake it the next day,” Baker said. “I literally wanted to make sure that she was okay."
Witnesses say the suspect car’s windshield was heavily damaged. The driver and a passenger were in the car. Anyone with information is urged to call the Arlington Police Department.