Thankful despite SUV encounter

Marilou Morishige was squeezing a little bit tighter while hugging her 11-year-old daughter, Kylie, last week.

That tends to happen when children survive their first encounter with a two-ton automobile.

Kylie was struck by a silver Honda SUV on Monday while walking home from school.

Thankfully, Kylie was OK, aside from the shock of the whole event.

You will be in shock as well when you learn how this all went down.

It was about 3:30 p.m. and Kylie and her twin sister Kristine had just gotten off a school bus west of Hualapai Way on Count Diero Drive. The Morishiges live just off the east side of Hualapai.

The twins went to the corner and waited at the traffic light. Crossing guards waited with them.

The traffic light turned red. The white walk signal came on. The crossing guards entered the road carrying their stop signs. And Kylie and Kristine crossed the street.

Five people were in the crosswalk. That's when the SUV turned south onto Hualapai from westbound Count Diero.

"I didn't see it at first," Kylie recalled Friday.

The front of the SUV slammed into the viola Kylie was carrying, and the musical instrument slammed into her knee. She was stunned.

The SUV didn't stop.

The crossing guards began to scream, Kylie said.

"I got scared," Kylie said.

She began to cry.

The crossing guards -- an elderly couple, according to Marilou -- were able to order the SUV to pull over.

Paramedics and police were called.

Kylie's father, Kent Morishige, got the call about his daughter. His heart sank until he realized that, besides being shaken up, Kylie was going to be fine.

There was a lot of activity around, but Kylie remembers the driver of the SUV going up to her while she was being checked out by paramedics and apologizing.

"He said he had the sun in his eyes and didn't see anyone," Kylie said.

But there is an obvious flaw in that excuse.

While the sun is descending at 3:30 p.m., the SUV was turning south on Hualapai. The last time I checked, the sun still sets in the west around here.

But this story gets better.

After Kent consulted with the paramedics, he whisked his shocked daughter home, believing the authorities would resolve the situation. He was only there about 10 minutes, he said. No police officer had arrived.

Between the time Kent took his daughter home and a cop showed up at the scene -- it's unclear how long that took -- the SUV drove off.

And apparently nobody wrote down the SUV's license plate number.

Pretty outrageous, huh?

The police report of the incident lists it as a hit and run. There is no information about the vehicle other than it was a silver Honda SUV with a male driver and female passenger. According to Kylie and her sister, the driver was in his 40s and they believed the woman with him was his mother.

The driver was not cited.

Kylie's mom, Marilou, would like the driver to turn himself in to police and receive whatever punishment is appropriate.

Marilou hopes he takes responsibility because he would likely be more careful in the future. Or maybe someone who reads this story knows the driver and will call police.

She also hopes that by hearing her daughter's story, valley drivers will be more careful of pedestrians.

I'm not sure the driver will surrender. He may have only been cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian if he had stayed at the scene. When hit and run enters the picture, the charges and consequences escalate.

He would have much more to lose materially. However, doing the right thing does help one sleep at night.

We all had something to be thankful for on Thursday. For Kent and Marilou Morishige, what they were thankful for happens to be irreplaceable.

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