‘Heartbreaking’: Mount Vernon teen struck, critically hurt by hit-and-run driver

VIDEO: Teen critically injured in hit-and-run

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Mount Vernon police said a 16-year-old girl was critically hurt and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Monday evening after being hit by a driver who then sped off.

“I couldn’t believe it was my daughter,” said her father Julio Resendiz, in an interview with KIRO 7. “I was hoping that it was just a bad dream.”

Resendiz said his daughter Lezly Resendiz-Garcia, a high school junior, was hit by the driver as she crossed a street while walking home in her neighborhood.

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“Don’t leave,” said Resendiz. “Just take responsibility.”

Resendiz-Garcia suffered brain damage and, as of Tuesday night, was in a medically-induced coma after undergoing surgery, according to family, who said a GoFundMe had been created to help pay for the teen’s care and recovery.

“The brain was swollen,” said Resendiz. “[Doctors] believe she’s going to have a hard time speaking again.”

Mount Vernon police said the driver hit the girl at the intersection of N 35th Street and E College Way around 5:11 p.m. Monday.

Investigators said witnesses saw a white or silver Toyota Prius speeding away from the area. The driver initially turned north on N 35th Place, according to police, before turning around and driving away westbound on E College Way.

“She said she saw the car coming at a high speed,” said Resendiz, recalling what one witness reportedly saw. “From what I heard, he didn’t slow down or anything.”

Police said Tuesday afternoon that the driver and vehicle had been located. On Wednesday, police told KIRO 7 the driver is a 19-year-old man from the Mount Vernon area.

A formal arrest has not been made as police continue to investigate the case.

Investigators said in a news release they were not looking for any additional suspects.

Resendiz said his daughter faces a long and uncertain recovery ahead but family members remain hopeful.

“I have so many emotions,” said Resendiz. “I just try to stay positive.”