Victim of hit and run dies
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The South Florida woman struck by a hit-and-run driver died from her injuries after spending four days in a coma, Monday.
Forty-three-year-old Melita Jaric was hit Friday afternoon while leaving her house on Southwest 11th Street and 42nd Avenue. According to police, Jaric, a Serbian woman and a computer science PhD student at Florida International University, was struck while crossing the street from her home to her car.
According to Jaric's roommate, the victim had just come back from class and had told her she was going to Walgreen's to get toilet paper. "She was stepping across the street, we're talking four steps," said Natasa Jaric, the victim's sister. Jaric had almost crossed to the other side of the street when authorities said a car hit her and kept on going.
Officials said Jaric's roommate heard the collision and found the student on the street laying on her stomach. The roommate then called 911 and spent more than 10 minutes with the operator.
911 operator: "Is she awake?"
Caller: "She's breathing. No, she's not awake."
911 operator: She's not awake because she isn't breathing? I need to know if she's breathing."
Caller: "Yes, she's breathing, barely."
Authorities said the driver fled the area. Paramedics arrived about 10 minutes after Jaric's roommate dialed 911. "She's breathing, she's taking deep breaths," said a medic who arrived at the scene. "Honestly, she's struggling, but she's taking deep, struggling breaths."
Jaric was then taken to Ryder Trauma Center where she was put on life support after entering a coma. Her family said her condition had steadily worsened since the accident took place.
Natasa said she could not understand how the hit-and-run driver could leave the scene. "You can't have innocent life gone, and someone didn't even step out to help her," she said. "Mistakes [happen], like the sun is shining through the windshield, and you hit someone because you can't see. It's the crime not to stop and try to fix your mistake," she continued.
Natasa argued there's a possibility her sister would still be alive if the hit-and-run driver had stayed at the scene. "Whoever left the accident, this is irreversible damage, lack of oxygen, she couldn't breathe. If someone could have picked her up, if someone could have taken her to the hospital earlier, the damage would have been a lot less," she said.
FIU president Mark B. Rosenberg issued a statement which read: "Melita Juric was a bright doctoral student with a promising future that was cut short by this senseless tragedy. She was driven, dedicated and curious about the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time."
Investigators continue to search for any leads surrounding the case. They said the car involved should have significant front-end damage.
If you have any information on this fatal hit and run, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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