An Austin mom is shocked by the identity of the hit-and-run driver who struck her 10-year-old boy and forced him to crawl a quarter of a mile home after the accident.
For weeks the mom, Heather Brady, and her family searched for the reckless driver, who hit Caden Walsh while he was walking home from Forest North Elementary School. But she had “mixed emotions” when she discovered why the driver, who injured her child, didn’t stop to help.
KXAN reports that on February 9, the fifth grader was walking on a sidewalk in his neighborhood when he was pushed into a tree by a dark-colored SUV. His leg was bleeding badly. Caden said that he was afraid and didn’t “know what was gonna happen.”
He told KXAN:
“I’d never had an injury at a time that bad. I haven’t ever broken any bones, not nothing.”
Caden’s stepfather, Jay Brady, recalled the incident. He and Caden’s mom waited for him to return home from school, but he was late.
Jay told KXAN that he thought Caden lost his phone until he heard noise at the door.
He recalled the event:
“He’s down at the bottom of the stairs, his leg is just covered in blood, he probably has a ball-peen hammer sized chunk of his leg missing, he’s just screaming blood-curdling screams.”
They rushed Caden to the hospital and, while he didn’t suffer any broken bones, he had to get 10 stitches for his leg wound. His parents asked the neighborhood to help find the person who smashed him against a tree.
Heather told KXAN:
“He could have been dead on the side of the road because somebody just took off, because they didn’t care enough to even go check on him, they just took off, what kind of person does that?”
The family and police searched for the driver who hit Caden and, according to KXAN, evidence pointed to a 17-year-old, Nicole Helen Miller, who was driving a red Jeep.
On March 21, police interviewed 17-year-old Helen Miller at Westwood High School.
According to the affidavit:
During questioning, Miller stated that she saw something tan moving around along the side of the road as she drove away but never returned to confirm what it was.
KXAN reports that Miller told police it may have been a small dog or roadkill.
She had been ‘very scared’ and nervous afterward, and called her dad, but didn’t contact emergency services.
She was arrested and booked into the Williamson County Jail on March 27, and released on a $10,000 bond the following day, reports KXAN.
Heather told KXAN:
“That’s what makes me angry. I would have sympathy for her otherwise if she would have done the right thing.”
Heather addressed Miller’s comments and said she didn’t believe the “I thought I hit a dog” statement that she made because her son “is much bigger than a dog.”
According to the affidavit, Miller was charged with third-degree felony failure to stop and render aid.
Heather believes Miller deserves to pay for her crime:
“She deserves punishment. She decided that her future was more important than my son’s life.”
Caden is no longer on crutches and his stitches have been removed.
However, his parents hope his story serves as a warning to other reckless drivers who accidentally hit a pedestrian.
“Make sure you stop. If you think you hit someone or something, stop, check on that person, don’t just leave. This would have been a different story for her if she’d have stopped. There’s no reason not to stop”
According to the affidavit, Miller said she wanted to apologize to Caden and his family, but Miller and her parents have not issued a public apology or shared her side of the story, reports to KXAN.