Teen accused of hit-and-run of boy who then crawled home

Crime

A driver who is accused of hitting a boy walking home from his northwest Austin school in February and leaving him to crawl a quarter of a mile to his house has been arrested.

Caden Walsh, 10, told KXAN he was walking home along Hymeadow Drive Feb. 9 around 3:30 p.m. when he said a driver went up onto the sidewalk and hit him. “[I was] scared, I really didn’t know what was gonna happen, I’d never had an injury at a time that bad,” Walsh said. “I haven’t ever broken any bones, not nothing.”

Caden Walsh had to get stitches on his leg after a driver hit him and took off on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 on Hyemeadow Drive. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard)

Police spent the next few weeks searching for the driver. According to the affidavit, there was evidence linking Nicole Helen Miller, 17, and her red Jeep to the incident and the location on the day of the crash.

“I had mixed emotions,” said Heather Brady, Caden Walsh’s mother. “I was happy that we found the person, but also sad because she’s so young.”

On March 21, police interviewed Miller at Westwood High School. She initially denied knowing about the incident or being familiar with Hymeadow Drive, which is close to her home, according to an affidavit. She later told officers she remembered hitting something, but thought it may have been a small dog or roadkill.

“I don’t believe the, ‘I thought I hit a dog,’ [comment] because my son is much bigger than a dog,” said Brady.

“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,” the affidavit stated. Miller told officers she had been “very scared” and nervous afterward, and called her dad, but didn’t contact emergency services.

“That’s what makes me angry,” said Brady. “I would have sympathy for her otherwise if she would have done the right thing.”

Walsh crawled home about 400 yards and had to go to the hospital to receive treatment for his leg wound.

Miller told officers she wanted to apologize to Walsh and his family, according to the affidavit. Brady says she has yet to hear from the teenager or her family.

Miller, who is charged with third-degree felony failure to stop and render aid, was booked into the Williamson County Jail on March 27 and released on a $10,000 bond the following day. 

“She deserves punishment,” said Brady. “She decided that her future was more important than my son’s life.” Brady says the best outcome in this situation would be, “some jail time, lots of probation and a suspended license for a while until she can learn to be more responsible.”

Brady was upset Miller did not come forward despite the news stories and calls from police to help identify the person who hit her son. 

“I’m relieved. It gives us some kind of closure and knowing that person — she’s gonna have to pay for what she’s done,” said Brady.

Walsh is off crutches now and his stitches have been removed.

“He’s doing well and recovering,” said Brady. “Caden is truly resilient.” 

But Brady explained that now the fear of her children walking in the neighborhood is with her all the time. 

“Every time they go out the door to go to a friend’s house the thought goes through my head, ‘What if it happens again? What if it’s worse this time?’” she said. 

Brady hopes her son’s story is a lesson for other drivers who wind up hitting 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”

KXAN attempted to speak with Miller and her parents today to hear her side of the story but they did not want to comment. 

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