GARLAND, Texas - Police in Garland are searching for a pickup truck driver who hit a student on her way to school.
The hit-and-run happened Monday morning on South Garland Avenue, across the street from Garland High. Natalia Estrada is still in critical condition at the hospital. Her family has a message for the driver.
The victim was crossing the street towards school around 6 a.m. and had almost made it across the road when a pickup coming north hit her and didn't stop to help the seriously-injured teen.
After hours of surgery and two days of intensive care, 18-year-old Natalia Estrada woke up with questions.
“When she woke up today, she didn't know what happened to her,” said her aunt, Brandy Valdes. “The last thing she remembers is crossing the street right here, hitting the button crossing the street.”
Valdes says Estrada suffered a severed femoral artery that threatened her life. She had a rod placed in her leg. Doctors are trying to save her right kidney while treating a broken hip, lacerated liver and fractured ribs.
“When she was being lifted up, she was just screaming and crying,” Valdes said. “And I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I had to turn my head because it was just so sad to watch her go through all this.”
A witness in another car told Garland police a gray pickup traveling north slammed into Estrada and then pulled around nearby businesses and took off.
“Right now, our investigators are working, looking for businesses that may have any kind of surveillance video that shows the street with this accident as well as help us identify what truck this is,” explained Lt. Pedro Barineau.
I'm angry, you know,” said Valdes. “It hurts — an innocent child just going to school.”
Estrada is a high school senior who expected to graduate in May but will likely have months of recovery ahead of her. It’s a set-back her family says is made tougher knowing the driver who didn't stop is still out there.
“Just come forward,” Vales plead. “Mistakes happen, you know. Just do the right thing.”
There is a cross walk near the accident site. The witness who was in the other car and called 911 said that he saw the crosswalk lights on when the truck hit Estrada but was not able to get a good look at the driver.
Garland police hope someone else in the area got a look at the driver or perhaps know of a gray pickup with some front end damage that police should check out.