A Riverside County girl remained hospitalized on Tuesday, her 7th birthday, recovering from injuries she sustained Friday when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver, a family member said.
DeAsha Butts, of Highgrove, suffered a fractured pelvis, bleeding from the brain, a bruised lung and leg fractures, her cousin Kim Thompson told the Press-Enterprise.
“She is an amazing, amazing child,” Thompson told the newspaper, saying the girl aspires to be a minister. “Even in the hospital she was asking for someone to pray for and for gospel music. She was going in and out of consciousness. … She has a long road to recovery.”
The first grader was walking home from school about 2:30 p.m. on Friday when she crossed Iowa Avenue, in an unincorporated area near Villa Street, and was hit by a truck, the Press Enterprise reported, citing the California Highway Patrol. The vehicle was headed northbound at the time, at a speed of about 45 mph, and did not stop after the collision, a CHP news release stated.
"The person that did this left a 6-year-old girl in the street and took off, and that's gut-wrenching," said CHP Officer Travis Monks.
While the girl was dragged underneath the truck, her backpack became lodged under her neck, protecting a vulnerable part of her neck and possibly saving her life, relative Michael Daniels said doctors had explained the family.
DeAsha was with two older siblings, age 11 and 12, who were not injured, her mother Bobbie told KTLA. They were walking to the family's nearby home from Highgrove Elementary when the collision occurred.
"The only thing she remembers seeing is the headlights," cousin Thompson said.
"She has such a heart for people, and she forgives this man for running her over," Thompson added. "She's just a beautiful child."
The girl was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center with major injuries, according to CHP.
The vehicle was described as a red four-door Chevrolet Silverado 2500 or 3500, model year between 1999 and 2009, with a chrome front bumper and wheel covers.
The driver was described as a white man, possibly in his 40s or 50s, with a gray goatee. He was a "'stocky' construction worker type" who may live or work in the area of the crash, CHP stated.
Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the California Highway Patrol at 951-637-8000 or the Inland Division Investigation Service at 909-637-8000.
A GoFundMe fundraising page was set up for the girl's medical expenses.