A 43-year-old woman was struck by a hit-and-run driver in broad daylight Friday afternoon as she crossed the 4200 block of Southwest 11th St., Miami-Dade Police said.
The victim, identified as Melita Jaric, was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Unit in critical condition. Neighbor Lee Feinberg said Jaric was left on the side of the road and lying in a pool of blood.
"The amount of blood, you know," he remembered. "Her spasming, you know? How could someone hit someone and just leave?"
Miami-Dade officers and traffic homicide detectives were asking that same question Friday night. Authorities said that around 4 p.m., Jaric was crossing the street from her home and heading towards her car when she was struck by a vehicle.
"Preliminary information that we have is that the vehicle was traveling westbound as she was simply crossing the street from her residence towards her vehicle when she was struck by this vehicle continuing in a westbound direction," said police spokesman Detective Javier Baez.
By Friday evening, detectives had no leads on the color, make, or model of that car, and no description of the driver.
Jaric was initially reported to be a University of Miami doctoral student, but UM spokeswoman Liz Amore said Saturday that she is not affiliated with the school.
She is a student at Florida International University, Baez said Saturday.
Neighbors said the woman Jaric rents a room from called 911 after the accident. Detectives said Jaric was rushed to Jackson in critical condition with severe wounds to the right side of her body. Police believe it is likely the vehicle that struck her bore some front-end damage, and the driver, once caught, could face charges.
"By leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, without rendering aid or providing information, is a crime," Baez explained.
According to authorities, Jaric is of Yugoslavian descent with no known relatives in South Florida. Detectives said her family in New York immediately made plans to fly down to be by her side after they got the news.
In the meantime, Jaric's neighbors are asking the driver to please come forward.
"Have a heart, have a conscience, turn yourself in, it's gonna go better for you in the long run," Feinberg said.
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