Justice eludes hit-and-run victim
Two years later, hit-and-run victim still in pain
By Eliot Duke
Tanya Lewis' life changed forever on March 7, 2011. In the two years since she was left for dead on Church Street by a hit-an-run driver, Lewis has battled constant pain and the ever-present question of who is responsible.
"Its been hard," Lewis, 27, said. "I walk with a limp from the accident and may have to have another surgery but nothing is set in stone right now. It's hurtful because I really want to find out who did it and why they did it."
According to Sgt. John Elgin with Thomasville Police Department, officers responded to an emergency call on Church Street at approximately 12:20 a.m. and found Lewis lying in the road with serious injuries. All Lewis remembers is bending down to pick up an item dropped as she was crossing the street.
"I was just coming back from dinner with my family and fiance," said Lewis. "I looked up and that's all I remember."
Witnesses told Lewis the car, described as a light or dark colored sedan, was "speeding like crazy" and the impact hurled her 50 feet in the air. Lewis suffered a broken leg, ankle and pelvis.
"I have four rods in my left leg, screws in my ankle and plate in my pelvis with screws in the front and back," Lewis said.
Thanks to a Crime Stoppers program that helped pay for her extensive medical bills following the accident, Lewis only was left with the physical and emotional scars from the accident. She hopes that somebody will come forward and help TPD bring this two-year old case to an end.
"I want them brought to justice," said Lewis. "I want them to get what they deserve."
Lewis' husband, Curtis, who was at the scene when the accident occurred, is ready to move on with their lives and let the police do their job. The couple married last June and they celebrate March 6 as the day they started dating.
"We live it every day," Curtis Lewis said. "Everything is going to be OK. Tanya is the one who physically endured it, we emotionally endure it every day. Now, I'm focused on her and that's where my life is. The focus needs to be on her. Sometimes you've got to let things go in order to move forward. I know it's something we'll have to deal with for the rest of our lives, but it's also something I've put behind me."
Tanya, who said it was love at first sight when she first met her husband at a bank in 2007, credits Curtis with helping her down the long road of recovery.
"He's been there through the whole thing," Tanya said. "When I was in therapy I wanted to give up but he wouldn't let me. He pushed me to keep going and even now, he's right by my side."
With little to go on besides a driver's side mirror recovered at the scene, Elgin said he continues to play the waiting game. He has not received any new information or tips regarding the hit-and-run but is confident someone knows something that could lead to a break in the case.
"I believe there is somebody who knows the driver of the car and knows the car that's involved," Elgin said. "Hopefully, someone will come to terms with being a human being and turn themselves in and take responsibility. As an investigator you always have to keep an open mind and have belief that you eventually will get the information you need to solve the case. "
Officers extensively searched local car dealerships and salvage yards trying to identify the make and model of the car using the recovered mirror but were unsuccessful. Calling it one of the most extensive hit-and-runs he's dealt with, Elgin said he will continue his search for answers.
"I can't understand why nobody's come forward but we're going to keep trying," said Elgin. "You never know when you're going to receive the tip that will help solve the case."
Anyone with information is asked to call Elgin at 475-4205 or Crime Stoppers of Thomasville at 476-8477.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.