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Mentor-on-the-Lake police identify hit-skip driver who struck child on bicycle

MOTL hitskip.png
Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:57:09-04

MENTOR-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — Mentor-on-the-Lake police have identified a hit-skip driver who allegedly struck a child riding a bicycle Wednesday evening.

Police told News 5 that they received a bunch of tips and used video from the license plate reader camera to look for the vehicle involved.

Investigators were able to get the license plate and track it back to a rental car company where records showed the driver lived in Painesville Township.

"We were able to speak with her," said Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Chief John Gielink. "Ultimately she admitted to her involvement and we're going to be sending everything to a prosecutor for a review of possible charges."

The incident happened Wednesday around 7:44 p.m. at Beech Street and Southland Drive.

The boy, 11-year-old Jeffrey Neely, went to the hospital but only suffered cuts and scrapes.

"I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and then the front side hit me," said Neely. "She tapped on the brake and then started going again."

The incident was captured on a friend's phone mounted to his bike. Video of the incident shows Neely ride through a stop sign and into the path of the an oncoming vehicle. Witnesses told responding officers that a dark-colored SUV with an out-of-state license plate, possibly from Florida, hit the child, police said.

MOTL police looking for hit-skip driver who struck child on bike

"From what we could tell, she hit him and pretty much kept on going at a high rate of speed," said the police chief.

Gielink said investigators found the 2019 Kia Sorrento at a car rental facility in Fairlawn.

Neely said news that police found the woman who hit him was a relief.

"I think they're a bad person," said the middle schooler. "I don't want them on the road anymore."

Neely, who is back at home with family after spending a night in the hospital, said he'd like an apology from the driver.

"I would understand if you didn't see me, but if you stayed with me, I would have forgiven you," said Neely.

Kyle Savoca who lives in the area said it’s not uncommon for people to drive recklessly in the neighborhood.

"Everybody is taking this kind of hard because it's a shock," he said. "It's also not a surprise because of the way these cars just go up and down, unfortunately."

Police said they are not naming the driver until she has been formally charged.

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