Child hurt in hit-and-run released from hospital

Three days after his 4-year-old sister was killed when she was run over in her stroller, 8-year-old Zion Castillo headed home from University Medical Center with two broken legs.

He sat quiet and stone-faced in a wheelchair outside the hospital while his father and uncle prepared to help him into a vehicle Monday evening.

His father, Justo Castillo, said the family was grateful that Zion and his mother, Yolanda Shirley, had survived being struck by the car that killed little Ziyana Castillo. Shirley, whose injuries include a broken leg, was released from UMC on Saturday.

Zion had been walking with Shirley as she pushed Ziyana in a stroller along Civic Center Drive near Lake Mead Boulevard about 11:30 a.m. Friday when a speeding 1994 Honda Civic drove up onto the sidewalk and struck them.

Police said the 18-year-old driver of the car, Christian Cortes, ran away after the crash but later turned himself in and faces numerous felony charges. Justo Castillo said he hopes that means justice will be served, but it’s little consolation.

“My daughter’s gone,” the dreadlocked father said in weary monotone. “She can never be brought back.”

Shirley’s co-workers said they too were devastated.

Inside the Wal-Mart store on Nellis Boulevard near Stewart Avenue on Monday, they had a bake sale to raise money for the family and handed out yellow ribbons that bore a tiny picture of a teddy bear and the words, “In Memory of Ziyana.”

Shirley is a phone operator at the store and has worked at the location for about six months, said assistant manager Mike Cox.

Several employees said Shirley had just returned to work Thursday after suffering a miscarriage a couple of weeks before.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her,” Cox said.

A friend and co-worker of Shirley’s said Shirley was always focused on her children.

“If she wasn’t here working for her children, she was at home caring for them,” said the store employee, who gave only her first name, Elizabeth.

Cox and other employees at the store met Ziyana recently on bring-your-child-to-work day, they said.

They described her as quiet and well-behaved.

Cox said the fundraiser had collected hundreds of dollars for Ziyana’s funeral costs and that the store plans to hold a dunk tank contest Thursday and another bake sale on Friday to raise more money.

Justo Castillo’s brother, Desmond Castillo, said the family is having a hard time coping with everything, especially because the tragedy was so senseless, and the driver’s actions were so reckless.

“I’m really sad for what he did,” he said about Cortes. “I don’t know what he was doing driving that fast.”

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