TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13) - A 9 year-old girl in Pinellas County is recovering after she was hit by a car.
She was headed to Tarpon Springs Elementary School Wednesday when a driver hit her in the crosswalk. The child says the driver asked if she was ok, then seconds later, drove off, leaving her lying in the street.
What would you do if you hit a child while driving, but after stopping to check, the child says, “I’m OK.” This situation may seem complicated to some, and like a 'no-brainer' to others. Would you be comfortable just driving off?
One man's decision to do just that has a parent furious.
Meanwhile, 9-year-old Takayla Pierce, a fifth-grader, won't be riding the skateboard she usually takes to school because she’s on crutches after being hit.
"I figured he had to see me, and I thought he was going to stop, but he just kept going," Takayla said.
She says a man in a white Mercedes paused at the stop sign, so she thought it was safe to cross. The next thing she knew, the car had slammed into her small body.
"When he hit me, I twisted as fast as a tornado, and I fell. I didn't know if I had any cuts or bruises on me," she recalled.
Pictures from Takayla's mom, who didn't want to go on camera, show cuts on the girl’s face and arms, and her foot was swollen. The driver, she says, got out and said he didn't see her and asked if she was okay.
"All I said was ‘OK,’ because I didn't know what he was going to do. I thought he was going to be mad, or hurt me or something," Takayla explained.
Taking the child's word, he quickly hopped back in his Benz and drove off without calling for help. A decision Tarpon Springs police say isn't illegal, but not the best choice.
"I would always err on the side of caution and call your local law enforcement agency, let them come there so they can work things out with either the school officials nearby or the parents of that child," said Maj. Jeffrey Young of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
Takayla did turn to her school for help. She went to the front office, telling them she was hit by a car and needed a nurse. They gave her a bag of ice and sent her off to class without calling police.
What's upsetting to Takayla's mother is a vague voicemail left on her phone, failing to mention the car accident.
Voicemail from school: "Could you please give us a call at [redacted]. This is regarding Takayla. She is in a nurse’s clinic right now. Thank you."
Hours later, her mom came to the school shocked to learn the news. The ordeal has left Takayla injured, and also afraid to skateboard to school.
"I don't even know if I want to ride it ever again," she told FOX 13 News.
FOX 13 News reached out to the Pinellas County School District asking why someone didn't call police immediately. A representative said, despite being steps away from school, the child was not on school grounds, so calling police would be her parents’ decision.
Takayla's mom has filed a report and now police are searching for that driver, described as a blonde, white male in a white Mercedes car. They want to talk to him to learn more about what happened.