A 16-year-old girl who was injured by a hit-and-run driver while taking a photograph Monday morning faces a long road to recovery, her parents said Tuesday.

Emily Miller of South Thomaston suffered a broken leg, a broken ankle, a fractured wrist and a shattered pelvis. She underwent surgery at Maine Medical Center Tuesday morning and is in stable condition, but family members said it could be months before she recovers. She was able to speak briefly and seemed to be in good spirits, her family said.

Miller was walking along a road in the Knox County town of Washington when she was hit. The last thing she remembers was stopping and bending over to take a photograph of a caterpillar, her parents said. The driver of the vehicle did not stop, leaving the teenager unconscious beside the road.

Emily Miller was struck by a hit-and-run driver and left unconscious by the side of a road in Washington on Monday morning. Photo courtesy of Julie Hilt

A passing motorist noticed Miller and stopped to help about six minutes after the crash (the date stamp on her photo gave police an approximate time), the parents said. The man, whose name has not been made public, dialed 911. Then he used Emily’s phone to dial her father, Scott Miller, who lives nearby.

Emily will probably be in a wheelchair for three months because she will be unable to bear weight on her leg or pelvis, her father said in a phone interview from the hospital.

“I’m sad and I’m worried about my daughter’s future. This is a life-changing experience,” Miller said.

Emily enjoys dancing, bicycling and hiking. She is a student at Oceanside High School in Rockland.

Emily’s mother, Julie Hilt of South Thomaston, said the man who stopped as he was headed to work saved her daughter’s life.

The teenager was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport before being flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

“To the man who followed his gut and went back to help my baby … thank you! I can not express that enough. I would love to be able to tell you in person,” Hilt wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “If anyone has information please called the sheriff. No one’s baby deserves to be left on the side of the road.”

The good Samaritan noticed Miller lying unresponsive beside West Washington Road around 9:15 a.m, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. First responders said her injuries were consistent with being hit by a motor vehicle.

Miller’s stepfather, Glen Hilt, started a GoFundMe campaign Tuesday to help cover Emily’s surgical expenses. Hilt works at Bath Iron Works.

“It is so hard for us to understand why someone would hit someone and just leave,” Glen Hilt wrote on the GoFundMe page. “A vehicle can cause great harm, respect them, do not drink and drive or text and drive. Distracted driving destroys lives.”

As of Tuesday evening, the campaign had raised more than $2,300.

“Obviously, we are are angry,” Julie Hilt said in a telephone interview. “But, I also realize that accidents happen. I’d just like for the person to come forward.”

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office told Emily’s family that the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle is likely familiar with West Washington Road – also known as Route 206. Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic checkpoint in that area Tuesday morning in hope of finding someone who may have witnessed the crash, or who may have information about the driver.

As of Tuesday evening, no arrests had been made, but anyone with information about the driver should contact Detective Dwight Burtis at 594-0429, ext. 722.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a Class C felony in Maine, punishable by up to five years in prison. Police are hoping the driver of the vehicle does the right thing and comes forward.

More than 1,500 people shared the Sheriff’s Office Facebook post regarding the accident and nearly 200 people posted comments.

 

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