CLEVELAND-- Tuesday brought with it two big developments in the case of a young woman who was nearly killed in a hit-and-run crash two weekends ago.
On Tuesday evening, Ayana Barkley, who was put in a medically induced coma, opened her eyes, her father told us. In the morning, police found an impounded SUV that matched the description of the suspect vehicle that hit her.
"I'm asking, I'm begging this person. Do the right thing. Come and turn yourself in," said Michael Barkley, her father.
Ayana suffered critical injuries to her head and had to have part of her right leg amputated, among other injuries.
Police said a 2004 Ford Explorer was found on a report of a stolen vehicle, blocks away and hours later from where she was hit on Sept. 28. Police said a photo from that day fits the video and witness descriptions of the vehicle given to them.
Barkley thanked detectives and those on social media for sending him information.
"They were able to relay to me and I was able to relay that to the police officers."
There is heavy damage to the front and police said the plates were stripped. Detectives are working on locating the owner.
Barkley said he is elated about the development, but thinks there could be a faster way to help police find vehicles related to crimes.
"Many many man hours were spent looking for basically a phantom car that was already in their possession," he said.
He said he plans to contact state leaders this week to begin work on "Ayana's Law."
"They'll be able to streamline that process going from a vehicle that has been involved in an accident, involved in a hit-and-run, involved in a robbery or murder, and they could immediately send that information to that detective and that could save many man-hours it could save tons of money."
But there's still a long road ahead.
"My goal, my job, my mission is to get a way of protecting other people," Barkley said.
The family plans to wait for Ayana to heal a bit more before bringing her 5-year-old daughter to see her.
"Can you say a little prayer for mommy? And she said yes. And we promised her that very soon she will see her mother," Barkley said.
Police said the vehicle was towed for processing and they are still working on obtaining a warrant for evidence collection.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest of the driver responsible.
Anyone with info is asked to contact the Cleveland Division of Police Accident Investigation Unit at 216-623-5295. Anonymous tips can be provided via Crime Stoppers by calling 216-25-CRIME.