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12-year-old seriously injured after bus stop hit-and-run

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A 12-year-old girl was seriously injured in Pensacola after being struck by a vehicle while getting off a school bus.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5th Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) was dispatched to a hit and run traffic crash on Massachusetts Avenue near Preservation Blvd.

Upon arrival, troopers observed the victim, Maria Alexandra Wethington,12, being treated for serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle while walking across the road after getting off a school bus.

One witness at the scene was able to give a detailed physical description of the suspect.

It was determined that the school bus was stopped facing westbound and the suspect's vehicle was traveling eastbound.

The driver failed to observe the school bus stopped with all of its warning lights activated and the child walked into the eastbound lanes where the collision occurred.

The driver then fled the scene before troopers arrived. The vehicle was described as a white Chevrolet HHR.

Troopers were notified by dispatch a person wishing to remain anonymous on the phone wanted to provide information on the whereabouts of a possible vehicle.

The tip led troopers to the Wal-Mart parking lot on Mobile Hwy where they observed a white Chevrolet HHR parked in front of Subway that was unattended.

Troopers observed damage to the right front corner of the vehicle that still had physical evidence from the collision.

It appeared to have black scuff marks on the bumper which resembled the black velvet shoes the victim was wearing.

Troopers walked the area and observed a person matching the description that witnesses provided at the scene.

The suspect was located ordering Chinese take-out and was identified as Laurel Peyton Lewis, 29, of Foley, Alabama.

Lewis was detained for questioning in reference to the accident.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the vehicle thought to be the hit and run vehicle was in fact registered to Lewis.

During questioning, Lewis admitted to striking the child in the roadway and leaving the scene due to being scared.

Lewis was transported to the Escambia County jail and charged with one count of leaving the scene involving serious bodily injury and one count of failure to stop for a school bus involving injury.

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