2-year-old airlifted to hospital following hit and run

Posted at 4:21 PM, Sep 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-10 18:21:12-04

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — Public safety officers are investigating after a 2-year-old girl was struck by a hit and run driver in St. Joseph on Sept. 4.

Police say the toddler was with her parents who were walking southbound along Lake Shore Drive just south of Hilltop Road when a vehicle traveling in the same direction struck the girl in the head with its passenger mirror before driving away.

“The mother had the 2-year-old child over her shoulder," said Mark Clapp, director of public safety in St. Joseph. "She was walking southbound and a southbound vehicle came along and clipped her shoulder and hit the baby's head with what we believe is the outside passenger side mirror."

Clapp said the family was out walking to watch the sunset and was returning from a nearby park when the incident happened around 8:30 and 9pm.

The vehicle was believed to have been traveling about 45 mph, the posted speed limit in the area, according to Clapp.

"According to the victim it made a loud enough 'pop' that anyone driving would've realized they hit something," he said.

The family is new to the country, having only moved to the area about six weeks ago, according to police who said the family didn't know where to go to find a hospital or who to call following the incident.

Clapp said the family returned home first before calling police. The girl was airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamzoo with minor injuries. She has since been released and is now recovering at home, believed to be okay.

"It is very unusual just in the way it happened, and where it happened, and the fact it was just the outside mirror," Clapp said.

"It's not where we have a lot of pedestrian traffic, it's possible the driver didn't know they hit somebody, in which case they just need to contact us so we can clear it up."

Police could only describe the suspected vehicle as a black SUV, possibly a BMW.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Saint Joseph Department of Public Safety at 269-985-0300, anonymous tip line at 269-985-0301, or Crime Stoppers at 800-342-7867.