No arrest made in January hit-and-run crash that seriously injured teen

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It's been a month since a Lakeland teenager was hit by a car and thrown into a ditch as she walked to her bus stop. 

Elani Miller was left for dead with several broken bones, unable to walk and facing a long road to recovery. 

The driver who hit her never stopped. And, so far, no one has been arrested. 

Broken, bruised and bandaged, 17-year-old Elani should be enjoying her last months of high school. Instead, she's relying on a walker and wheelchair. Every step is a struggle.

"As a mom, it's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with and I don't wish this on any parent," said Suzette Miller.

Elani, a New Beginnings High School senior, was walking to a city bus stop on Jan. 8 around 6:30 a.m. As she headed east on Swindell Road, past Pineville Lane, deputies said an SUV hit her and threw her into a ditch. 

The driver fled. Elani was left with two broken legs and a broken hand.

"This person is a killer," Suzette Miller said. "You left my child in a ditch at 6:30 in the morning. They didn't get to her until 7. You never stopped, you never pulled over, you never checked to see what you hit. And you never called 911 at that."

Elani spent a month between the hospital and rehab. She's had three surgeries with a fourth coming up. Still, there have been no leads, nor has anyone come forward.

"It's not right," said Suzette Miller. "It's February 6th. My daughter got hit January 8th. The fact that this person is still, to me, at large is crazy."

Sidewalks are currently being installed along Swindell Road. Following the crash, Polk County leaders sped up a plan to link them to Pineville Lane. That's expected to be done by mid-March.

"The decision to construct new sidewalk to Pineville Lane results from the basic need to build sidewalks and trails for safer walking, but the extension of the existing sidewalk to the Pineville neighborhood was prioritized and expedited by senior county management in light of Elani Miller being struck and injured," said Bill Skelton, Project Management Liaison for the Roads & Drainage Division.

Suzette Miller just wishes it could've happened sooner.

"I am glad that they are trying to make a change so that other parents don't have to feel what I feel and other children don't have to go through what she's going through," she said.

Despite a major setback, Elani is on track to graduate in May. And after spending so much time at the hospital learning how to care for her injuries, she now has her sights set on becoming a nurse.

As for her mom, she just wants the driver who nearly killed her daughter to do the right thing.

"The fact that you are still, to me, at large and have not come forward, I'm dumbfounded," Suzette Miller said. "Do you have a heart? If you do, look deep inside your heart and just come forward, please."

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the search continues for the driver who hit Elani. The vehicle is described as a possibly dark-colored GMC Yukon, Chevy Suburban or Tahoe between the years 1999 and 2006.