Seattle police search for driver that hit 9-year-old girl

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 30, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 2 at 7:40 AM

SEATTLE – A 9-year-old girl hit by a stolen SUV was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday morning as Seattle police look for the hit-and-run driver.

The accident happened just after 5 p.m. Monday near Dexter Avenue and Denny Way in downtown Seattle. It came moments after police were chasing the suspect.

Witnesses said the driver was headed north on Dexter Avenue in a 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser when he ran a red light, hit a tree, then kept going on the sidewalk before hitting the 9-year-old girl. The driver then kept going through Denny Park before fleeing the scene.

"It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen in my life," said witness Matt Lacanfora.

"There's no doubt in my mind he knew exactly what he did and he just hit the gas, swerved a little bit more through the grass… and took off," witness Ben Merry said.

The girl was taken to Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries to the lower half of her body.  She is expected to survive, police said.

Minutes before the crash, at 5:08 p.m., a Seattle Police officer saw the car speeding near 5th Avenue and Broad Street, realized it was stolen and started to give chase, Det. Jeff Kappel said.  But a supervisor called off the chase before the accident at Denny Park.

Police could not say how long the chase lasted or how much time passed between the end of the chase and the accident.  But witnesses saw a police car on the scene immediately after the girl was hit.

Police later found the suspects' abandoned vehicle near Mercer Street and Yale Avenue. 

"We scoured the area looking for suspects and they remain at large at this time," Kappel said Monday night.

Police believe two suspects were in the SUV -- a driver and a front-seat passenger.  Police have not released a description of the suspects.

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