Woman injured, dog killed in hit-and-run

Sharon Kiel, wife and mother of five, was seriously injured when she was struck by a car while walking her dog. The dog, Copper, was killed.

October 15, 2011 8:47:41 PM PDT
A woman's nightly routine ended in tragedy in northwest Harris County.

In a cross between panic and fear, Kevin Fitzmartin ran to deliver news to his neighbor down the street.

"I ran probably faster than I have in a lot of years," he said. "I asked him, I said, 'Is your wife out walking a dog?' making sure I didn't get the wrong house. He said, 'Yeah.'"

"And he said your wife and dog have been hit by a car," Jeff Kiel said.

Kiel's wife, Sharon, and the family dog, Copper, were out for an evening jog in their Champion Forest neighborhood when deputies say the driver of a black Nissan Altima blew through a stop sign and struck them both.

"She definitely had a reflective band on her leg. She was worried about her dog and she was just scared -- very very scared," neighbor Gretchen O'Donnell said.

Copper's body cushioned Sharon's. The 40-pound Vizsla was dragged more than 10 feet and instantly died.

"We ran down the street to see what was happening,"Kiel said. "All police and ambulances were there."

Kiel rushed to his wife's side.

"She recognized who I was. She could communicate with me, 'I'm scared, don't leave me,'" Kiel said.

Surrounded by neighbors, she was bleeding on the curb at the corner of Valley Palm and Kilrenny.

"She was covered in blood. [It was] splattered everywhere," O'Donnell said.

Kiel said his wife has broken legs and feet, a broken arm and multiple skull fractures and displaced bones in her head. The accident nearly ripped her aorta in half.

The driver who hit her never stopped.

"It was black, small, and it had four doors," 10-year-old witness Leigh Norton said.

Norton's eyes may be the only pair that caught a glimpse of that getaway car.

"I didn't see anybody. It had really dark windows," she said.

The key evidence left behind that could help detectives solve this crime: entire chunks of the getaway car left scattered on the road.

"Whoever has run from this, it's probably best to turn themselves in before it ends up getting himself in more trouble," Kiel said.

In Fitzmartin's mind, piecing the car -- or the crime -- together won't take long at all.

"Whoever did this probably lives in this general area. They'd have to know how to get through here," he said.

Sharon Kiel -- a mother of five -- is in serious but stable condition at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center. She has several surgeries ahead of her in coming months.

If you see a car that fits the description or if you know who the driver may be, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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