Local News

Child Injured in Hit-and-Run; Driver Arrested After Fleeing Scene

Posted April 13, 2008 7:17 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2008 10:50 a.m. EDT

— A driver was facing charges after hitting a 7-year-old boy with his vehicle Sunday evening in Johnston County, police said.

Witnesses said Marcus Lassiter was crossing Heath Road with a friend when he was struck at about 6 p.m. He was taken by helicopter to Duke University Hospital for treatment.

Relatives said the boy's leg was broken and he had brain damage. He was expected to undergo surgery Monday.

The driver of the vehicle, Pollo Hernandez Rodriquez, got out of his car and ran away after hitting the child, police said. He was later arrested.

Residents WRAL spoke with said the speed limit is 45 mph, but motorists often drive much faster. A resident WRAL interviewed said he has seen Rodriquez speeding through the neighborhood before.

“I’ve seen him speeding through here. My guess is he's doing at least 60 mph, no less. That’s a little fast for all the houses around this development,” Rob Hamilton said.

There were conflicting reports Sunday night as to whether Marcus was in the street or on the shoulder of the road when he was hit. One witness said the car swerved off the road and hit the child.

"He was just lying in the road. He wasn't moving or anything. They just ran out and grabbed him and carried him in the house,” witness Milton Barnes said.

"Everybody was just praying and seeing if he would live and if he would get to the hospital and be OK,” witness Ryan Hamilton said.