DALLAS - Police continue to search for the woman accused of hitting an 18-year-old woman with an SUV and leaving the scene last Friday night.
Ann Marie Palao,18, was critically injured and remains hospitalized after a fender bender that became much more serious. She underwent emergency surgery over the weekend to stay alive.
Dallas police are not investigating the incident as a simple hit-and-run traffic accident. They say it’s a violent crime and are investigating it as an aggravated assault.
Police are asking for the public’s help to find the suspect. They’re looking for a black female, between 18 and 25 years old, who was driving a white SUV that's either a Nissan or Mazda.
Around 7:20 p.m. on Good Friday, police say Palao was driving with her boyfriend when they were rear-ended in the 8300 block of Clark Road about a quarter mile north of Camp Wisdom Road.
Family members say Palao started taking video of the crash and was trying to exchange information when the suspect got back into her vehicle and slammed into Palao as she clung to the hood.
Police say the suspect sped off northbound on Clark Road with Palao on the hood for nearly a mile before the suspect threw her off.
Palao remains hospitalized in critical condition with severe brain injuries. Family and friends are praying someone knows something and are hoping someone will come forward with information to find a woman responsible.
Christian Malagon says he witnessed the hit-and-run turned aggravated assault that put Palao in intensive care. He says he was driving home from work when he saw a car and a white SUV pulled over. He watched two women from his rear-view mirror.
“That was the heated moment. Both of them were like arguing back and forth,” he recalled. “I turned around because I knew something bad was going to happen. By instinct, I went over there trying to help.”
Malagon says he saw Palao clinging to the suspect’s windshield wiper. He says the driver of the SUV sped for nearly a mile to Spur 408 where Palao finally let go.
“I saw the way she swerved to try to knock her down, but I guess she couldn't,” he said. “So she kept driving to the bridge.”
Malagon found Palao in the road. Her boyfriend, who was with her that night, also made it to that scene.
“He was like panicking because he didn't know what to do at that moment,” the witness said.
Malagon says he retrieved Palao's shattered iPhone and gave it to police, along with his statement. He believes the woman was driving either a Mazda CX-7 or a Nissan Pathfinder and was a 2008 through 2011 model.
FOX 4 News was there as detectives canvassed area businesses for surveillance video.
Family members say Palao is funny, smart and athletic. She planned to go to college and become a veterinarian.
Family members say they want to suspect caught before she does something like this to someone else.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Dallas Police Department.