CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found a teen driver never should have been behind the wheel or even on your streets when Cleveland police say she killed a child, so we went to see that driver’s mother.
The suspect’s mother said she’s not turning her back on her 17-year-old daughter, but the teen has to own up to what happened.
“She’s my daughter, and I love her,” the mother said. “And, I told her on the phone, you know what you did. You gotta pay for it. You know you shoulda stopped.”
The family of 5-year-old Apolina Asumani wants justice.
Saturday evening on West 50th Street, Cleveland police say the little girl ran out between cars, she got hit, and she didn’t survive. The family considers the driver heartless for not stopping.
Through an interpreter the family told FOX 8 Sunday: “As a family we’re very angry, very angry. A normal human being, once you strike somebody, the proper thing you’re supposed to do is stop and see if they’re OK.”
We asked the suspect’s mother, if talked about why she didn’t stop.
“She said she didn’t see the girl. In life, things happen within a second,” the mother said.
Records show that driver should not have been behind the wheel, and the I-Team found she should not even have been on the street.
Juvenile Court documents say she’d been wanted for not showing up for court in multiple cases for domestic violence and theft, on the run for more than a month.
Police also say the teen had escaped from a county office building where child welfare workers hold some of the most troubled kids while looking for foster homes for them.
The teen’s mother admits she has struggled with her daughter. And, now, Cleveland Police also say the teen even pulled a gun on a witness threatening her to keep quiet.
So, we asked the suspect’s mother if she ever knew her daughter carried a gun.
She responded, “No, no. I tried to give her the right path. I tried to take her to the right path and everything.”
Back at the scene of the hit and run, Jennifer Ellis wondered, “How’s she been driving around like this? And, now look at what happened.”
Witnesses want some explanation. The driver’s mom understands, and she tells us this has left pain all around.
We asked if she believes her daughter now realizes the seriousness of what happened.
The mother responded, “Yeah. Now, yeah. It’s hitting her hard.”
The teen driver now faces seven charges and a judge on Monday ordered her to be held in the Juvenile Detention Center.
Meantime, the I-TEAM is asking more questions about the response by Cleveland police.
A suspect was arrested within hours, but records show police did not get a car to the scene of the hit and run for 24 minutes. Radio traffic shows all other officers in that area were tied up on calls.
We’ve requested more information about that.
Cleveland EMS, however, says an ambulance got on scene in 5 minutes.
There is a GoFundMe account to help the family pay for funeral services.