Driver flees after hitting 12-year-old

Police are looking for suspects involved in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday that left a 12-year-old Claremont girl seriously injured.  

The girl was airlifted from Catawba County to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on Sunday night after being struck by a vehicle while walking alongside Oxford School Road.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene.

Troopers with the N.C. Highway Patrol say the girl was walking with a friend alongside Oxford School Road near Bunker Hill School Road about 7 p.m. Sunday when the driver of a silver or champagne-colored SUV struck her in the back.

The injured girl was taken to a local hospital and was airlifted to CMC-Charlotte.

She is in stable condition at the intensive care unit and has some swelling around the brain, Claremont Police Chief Gerald Tolbert said during a CPD report at a regularly scheduled Claremont City Council meeting Monday. He said she also has broken bones and several lacerations.

“We want everybody to pray for her, and I hope she gets better,” Tolbert told the council.

The girl is the daughter of Claremont Police Sgt. Duane Cozzen, Tolbert said.

After the collision Sunday, a reconstruction team responded to the scene to investigate debris left from the fleeing vehicle. The Highway Patrol does not have any suspects at this point, said N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. B.E. Hipp.

Police say the vehicle was described as a silver or champagne-colored SUV that may have damages to the passenger-side, rear-view mirror.

Anyone with information about the accident is urged to contact the N.C. Highway Patrol at 828-466-5500.