A 15-year-old girl was struck and killed after jumping out of her mother’s moving car on a Texas highway Monday, local authorities say, as the search continues for the driver who struck her.
The teenager was arguing with her mother in a car travelling down the I-45 highway just before the incident, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The girl opened the door and jumped out while the vehicle was still in motion, Gonzalez said.
A vehicle struck the teenager and then drove off, the sheriff said. Authorities were still trying to identify the vehicle and its driver on Friday.
The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family and friends have since identified the girl as Maddison Taylor, an affectionate person who lived a “troubled” life, according to local station ABC13.
“She didn’t really get to live her life,” said Denajah Love, one of Taylor’s cousins. “She didn’t get to go to prom. She didn’t even get to be in high school yet.”
Taylor’s family is now appealing for help to identify the hit-and-run driver involved in her death, in hopes of getting some closure on the case.
“I get that it was not on purpose. It was an accident,” Love said. “But at least have the respect to wait there until the ambulance gets there or police get there.”
Ja’kaiah Franklin, another of Taylor’s cousins, said it’s been “hard” to deal with the hit-and-run element of the girl’s death.
“It makes us angry basically, because what if they were in the same shoes?” she said. “They would want to know who hit their daughter.”
The family has launched a GoFundMe campaign for Taylor’s funeral.
The police investigation is still underway.