Police say they have found the 19-year-old driver responsible for the tragedy on Route 553, about 90 minutes east of Pittsburgh. The woman was walking along the highway with her eldest daughter when she was hit from behind by a pick-up truck, which then sped off, police said at the time. The Cherryhill Township woman left behind her two daughters, her husband and a son just 4 years old.
The little boy is having trouble understanding why his mom is no longer around, one of his sisters told a TV station reporter. “My little brother doesn’t understand,” she said. “When people ask him, he just says his mom’s in heaven.”
As for the alleged hit-and-run driver, he’s facing criminal charges, including an accusation that he was texting while driving. Police say they have evidence that he sent a pair of texts “in close proximity to the time of the crash.”
After the tragedy was publicized in area media, the driver went to state police to discuss the accident, saying he thought his pick-up had struck a deer. He told officials that the damage to the vehicle had been repaired, but that his truck had caught fire a few days later. He said he thought the fire might have been caused by an electrical system failure.
Police are now investigating whether the fire was caused by arson.
The dead woman’s family said they do not believe the driver’s story.
In similar situations, an attorney for the family will get to the truth of the matter. And if the truth is that a distracted driver hits a pedestrian, drives off to leave her dying and then sets fire to his vehicle to destroy evidence, the attorney and family will make the driver pay. There is no amount of money that can undo what an irresponsible driver does in these cases, but maximum compensation for the family serves as a warning to others inclined to be reckless.