April 5, 2019 7:26 pm

9-year-old says ‘miracle’ saved her from horrific car strike; suspect insists he was carjacked

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A 9-year-old girl who survived being struck by a car that careened across the front yard of her Georgia home says she “thanks God a lot for miracles that happen.”

LaDerihanna Holmes spoke with NBC News from her wheelchair and says her goal is to get better “with the help from everybody in the world.”

LaDerihanna suffered a fractured skull and broken pelvis in the March 29 crash in Lithonia, east of Atlanta.

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Police have arrested a man they say was driving the car that hit and seriously injured LaDerihanna while she was playing in her front yard. But the man’s lawyer said his client was trying to fight off a carjacker at the time of the wreck.

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News outlets report that Gabriel Jabri Fordham, 28, surrendered to police Tuesday evening. Fordham faces charges, including hit and run and serious injury by vehicle, in the crash Friday that left LaDerihanna with multiple injuries.

Another girl who was playing with LaDerihanna right before the wreck suffered bruising when her foot got stuck between the car and the house, the girl told WSB-TV .

Fordham’s attorney Ryan Williams told WSB-TV a man jumped into Fordham’s car, put a gun in his face and made him drive.

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“My client tried to take the gun from him, the guy hits him in the face, my client blacks out, and that’s why you see the full fledge force of them going through a stop sign,” Williams told the television station.

Williams said a man in white pants who can be seen in the video running from the car just after the crash is the person who attacked his client. Fordham initially stuck around after the crash but left after interacting with people who came out of the house.

“With emotions rising, he had no opportunity to stay there, without possibly being harmed,” Williams said.

Fordham’s girlfriend owns the car and the couple contacted police the day of the crash, Williams said. They had been negotiating a surrender in the days that followed.

“He has not been trying to hide in the shadows,” Williams said.

READ MORE: Vancouver hit-and-run sends senior to hospital

Authorities said Fordham was booked into the DeKalb County jail on charges of failure to maintain lane, failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving, hit and run and serious injury by vehicle.

LaDerihanna’s mother, Charlette Bolton, said Monday that her daughter has a long road of doctor visits and physical therapy ahead of her and that she has to learn how to walk again, but Bolton said doctors expect the girl to make a full recovery.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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