Mother claims HPD may have left evidence behind after seeing driver hit 17-year-old daughter

Friday, February 2, 2024
Who struck Natasha Kooken? Houston mother sees hit-and-run driver plow into 17-year-old daughter in Meyerland area
The driver who hit 17-year-old Natasha Kooken in Houston's Meyerland area took off without rendering aid, the girl's mother told only ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother watched in horror as a car struck her 17-year-old daughter after getting off the METRO bus and is now desperately searching for the hit-and-run driver, fearing the driver could kill someone else.

Natasha Kooken, 17, is in the hospital recovering. Her family said she has four fractures in the pelvic area, among other injuries.

"Her femur is also fractured, to the point where she has a titanium screw," Anna Hines, a family member, said.

Natasha attends Westbury High School and takes the METRO transit home. Her mother, Ashley Thomas, waits to take her home daily at her drop-off.

On Monday, at about 2 p.m., Kooken was crossing the street when a car struck her on Hillcroft near Queenslock in the Meyerland area.

"I watched it happen, and it keeps replaying in my head," Thomas said. "She has a twin brother, and so I bring him, and I have to drive past that spot every single day."

According to the Houston Police Department, Kooken was not using a crosswalk, but ABC13 spotted a pedestrian crossing sign right near the bus stop, warning drivers.

"If it was a complete accident, they should have stopped," Thomas said. "But they pulled away, and they drove off, just sped off. Another witness said they saw when they hit her, it had cracked the windshield from the passenger to the driver's side."

Thomas added there was a broken piece of a car on the ground, and she told police she believed it could be from the suspect's vehicle.

"I said, 'Don't y'all need this?'" Thomas recalled. "'Isn't this the evidence?' They said, 'Just leave it.'"

Eyewitness News asked HPD about this, and all they could say is it's under investigation.

Thomas said she's lucky her daughter is alive, considering all the hit-and-runs reported each week.

On Tuesday, just one day after, a 38-year-old man was crossing the roadway on Parker Road near Bauman Road when police said he was struck and killed by a driver who failed to stop and render aid.

Last year, according to the City of Houston, crashes killed 90 pedestrians and seriously injured more than 200 others across the city.

"I thought I was running over to my daughter paralyzed or dead," Thomas said. "I am grateful every day I still have her because it could be worse."

Police ask anyone with information to contact HPD at 713-247-4072 or call Crime Stoppers and stay anonymous at 713-521-4600.

While police told ABC13 the car's description is unknown, Thomas said she saw a four-door sedan with dark window tint.

Thomas said she wanted to thank witnesses, the community, and nearby business owners for their help in speaking up about what they say and sharing her daughter's story in hopes of spreading awareness and finding the driver responsible.

The family created a GoFundMe to help with expenses.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.