12-year-old girl critically injured, suspect jailed in Monrovia hit-and-run

MONROVIA — A 12-year-old girl was fighting for her life at a hospital Saturday after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Huntington Drive, authorities said.
After allegedly fleeing the scene of the crash, police tracked down and arrested Emma Tapia-Gonzalez, 23, of Monrovia on suspicion of hit-and-run, Monrovia police Lt. Nels Ortlund said. She does not have a driver’s license.
The young girl was crossing south across Huntington Drive at Canyon Boulevard shortly before 4 p.m. Friday with a group of about four other elementary school-age siblings and friends when she was struck by a westbound 1995 Infinite J30, the lieutenant said. The car fled the scene.
Rescuers rushed the injured girl to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, police said. She was described as a student at Clifton Middle School, which is about a mile away from the crash scene.
The crash occurred at a “T” intersection where there are no crosswalks or other markings.
Another vehicle had stopped for the children in the number two lane of Huntington Drive, but Tapia-Hernandez apparently failed to see the children and struck the 12-year-old girl, Ortlund said.
Initial reports indicated that the children were running across the street when struck, he added.
Witnesses provided descriptions of the hit-and-run vehicle, and officers immediately launched a tenacious investigation, Ortlund said.
“Officers worked very, very hard on this. They did some excellent follow up investigation,” he said.
The task of tracking down the alleged driver was complicated by the fact that Tapia-Gonzalez has never been issued a driver’s license, police said.
“(Officers) went to something like four or five locations before ultimately tracking the vehicle down to her current residence,” Ortlund said.
Police then located Tapia-Gonzalez and arrested her just before 8 p.m. Friday at a Duarte business where her boyfriend works, officials said.
Tapia-Gonzalez admitted her involvement in the collision, Ortlund said, and physical evidence such as a broken piece of mirror left at the scene linked her car to the crime.
According to county booking records, Tapia-Gonzalez was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending her initial appearance in Pasadena Superior Court.
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