Woman 'left for dead' after hit-and-run, reward for suspect tips

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Just days before her 29th birthday, Carmelita Hinten was heading home when she was struck by a car, thrown from her wheelchair and left critically injured in the crosswalk on the city's west side.

Hinten said she was lucky to survive the incident but hasn't been home since.

"I was left for dead. I'm blessed to be here," Hinten said. "I was trying to have a (birthday) gathering but ended up spending my birthday in this rehab facility...still here and looks like I'm spending most of my holidays here."

Carmelita Hinten, 29, was struck and critically injured just days before her 29th birthday.

Now, Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering a $1,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest in her case.

Hinten, who has muscular dystrophy, was returning home from the grocery store at 10:50 p.m. on Aug. 29 and went to cross the street on the south side of McNichols at Harlow Street.

Midway through the intersection, she noticed headlights coming towards her. She was struck and knocked out of her wheelchair so forcefully she lost her shoes.

Officials said she was wearing her highlighter vest and had the right-of-way, but the driver in a black Dodge Charger fled the scene toward the Southfield Freeway.

Hinten could barely find the words to describe the incident, but made it clear she wanted to thank the civilians who stopped to help her, saving her life.

"I remember screaming for someone to come help me, scared that another car would hit me while I was in the road," she said in tears. "Some lady stopped and stopped other cars to form a circle around me until an ambulance arrived. I would like to know who she is to thank her."

Before the crash, Hinten was a Detroit Public Schools graduate and planned to enroll in college to become an advocate for people who have muscular dystrophy by studying meteorology. She thought she could help others as the weather can make make travel difficult for those with the disease.

She still has those aspirations. 

Carmelita Hinten, right, was struck by a car that fled the scene. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest.

Randy Hinten said he wishes the driver who hit his only daughter would turn themselves in.

"I've always loved her big sense of humor, but she's afraid now to go anywhere," he said. "The horror of it is unforgettable. She got hit, but when she woke up, she was holding her thigh and the bone was sticking out. She went through a lot."

Officials said there was no indication the driver attempted to stop. 

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_