Teenage hit-and-run victim wants to know why driver struck her

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

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SEATTLE —

“I’m paralyzed, basically, from the waist down,” was the first thing Mariah Pagliocco told KIRO 7 on Friday from her bed at Children's Hospital in Seattle.

Six weeks ago, Pagliocco was struck by a maroon Pontiac while walking along Duvall Avenue North in Renton. The driver left the scene, but returned ten minutes later and is now under investigation for felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault.

Pagliocco will be dealing with her injuries for the rest of her life; both legs were shattered, her bladder and spleen were crushed.  Doctors have told Pagliocco she’ll never walk again, something she wants to prove wrong.  Pagliocco also said she's still in constant pain, but manages to joke about the sudden impact of the vehicle striking her on May 29“When the incident happened, I didn’t chip a nail,” she said, showing off a pink glitter manicure.

Detectives with the Renton Police Department drew blood from the driver to see whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  They've also filed a search warrant for full access to the driver's cellphone records to determine what was going on inside the car when it's front bumper slammed into 17-year-old Pagliocco walking home from school.

Pacliocco desperately wants to know, too.  “I want to know why she hit me, that’s my biggest thing,” she said.  “What was she doing?  Was she on the phone?  Was she just not paying attention?” 

Weeks after her life changed forever, Pagliocco wants answers that will make sense and possibly help others: “I guess I’m proof, you know, it does make a difference if she was texting.”

The girl’s father wants to know, too, but mostly wants all drivers to be aware of what can happen if they're distracted in any way. Tony Pogliocco said the driver “performed an action that caused this to happen.”  

“My closure will be when justice is served against” the driver, he said.

The 26-year-old driver, who’s also from Renton, was detained at the scene but hasn’t been booked into jail. Criminal charges against her are pending, while the investigation continues.

Mariah Pogliocco is expected to leave the hospital in mid-August.