Dallas police seek hit-and-run driver who killed seven-year-old

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by TANYA EISERER and MARJORIE OWENS

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyaeiserer

WFAA

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 19 at 7:12 PM

Hit-and-run

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DALLAS — The mother of seven-year-old Melany Valdez is inconsolable after a hit-and-run driver struck and killed her daughter late Tuesday in a Northeast Dallas neighborhood.

Dallas police have impounded the driver’s car and are searching for him. He’s been described as a black male in his 30s and standing about 5'-5" with a thin build.

According to police and family members, Melany was walking with her mother, her grandmother, her sisters, and others in the 6900 block of Hemlock Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The family was returning to their Park Lane apartment complex going to another nearby apartment complex to pray to a saint.

Melany and another girl were crossing the street when a black 2008 Chrysler 300 hit Melany, police said. Witnesses told police the driver continued north on Hemlock Avenue and failed to stop and assist the young girl.

"He didn't stop at all,” said Melany’s grandmother, Lucila Padilla. “I yelled at him, 'Hey, come back, come back,' and he didn't pay attention to me. He ran."

Norma Sotelo, a friend who was with the group, said she tried to talk to Melany, but said the girl didn't respond. A motorist who stopped to help ended up driving the badly-injured little girl and several family members to get medical care.

Melany was later pronounced dead at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Another man, who was with a friend, said they heard the accident and heard a woman screaming.

“There was a lady saying, 'Help me, help me!' She pulled at the girl — when she picked her up, her little head was bleeding heavily,” the witness said.

The witness and his friend decided to follow the fleeing driver. They followed the car to an apartment complex in the 6000 block of Abrams Road. They wrote down the car’s license plate and contacted the police.

The witness said he knew the child’s grandmother and he was heartbroken about Melany’s death. He said he could barely sleep last night and kept replaying the accident in his mind over and over.

“Like the police said, this guy, he should have stopped and said it was an accident, but instead he ran,” the witness said.

In the apartment where Melany lived with her family, the grief is palpable for a little girl who loved to play with her siblings. There here wasn't a dry eye among the friends and family who had gathered to mourn and pay their respects Wednesday.

‎"They're very sad, the little sisters, because they would spend time together, would play together, and wherever they would go, they were together,” Sotelo said.

The Dallas Police Department is asking anyone who has information about the hit-and-run driver to call 214-670-5817.

E-mail teiserer@wfaa.com

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