Sassie Agres, 6, showed scrapes on her elbow, nose, lip and cheek yesterday as she sat with her uncle Clyde Paglinawan at his house after being hit by a speeding car Tuesday. Her cousin Natatia Paglinawan, 7, sitting with her mother, Darci Agres, was also hit but suffered lesser injuries.

Families of Hilo girls
hit in crosswalk want
driver arrested

Police say they abided by
procedure in not arresting the man, 19

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> Sassie Agres, 6, has scrapes on her elbow, upper lip, nose, cheek and knee. She landed on the roof of a speeding car Tuesday and was tossed to the ground when the driver hit his brakes.

"The guy wen' stop his brakes, and I felled," she said.

Sassie's cousin Natatia Paglinawan, 7, does not have any visible injuries. She was found under the car.

The Agres and Paglinawan families, of Hilo, are grateful that the girls came through the 2:32 p.m. accident at a side-street crosswalk below Hilo Union School without internal injuries. But the girls suffered.

"Last night, they woke up screaming. You know they're traumatized," said the girls' uncle Clyde Paglinawan.

Sassie said the driver told police after the accident he did not see a crossing guard. "The guy was talking to the cops, and he was lying," she said.

She cannot believe he did not see crossing guard Edelgard "Miss Ellie" Ridley holding a stop sign. Ridley is more than 6 feet tall, Paglinawan said.

The speed limit on the street is 25 mph. The skid marks of the car measured 8 1/2 feet, Paglinawan said.

They start where the car had already passed through the crosswalk.

The families are angry that police did not arrest the 19-year-old driver.

"He didn't even get one ticket," Paglinawan said.

The driver who hit the girls should have been arrested, processed and only then released, he said.

Police spokesman Buck Donham said not making an arrest was standard procedure since there were no major injuries and no major violations.

Paglinawan scoffed at the idea that hitting two girls was not a major violation.

Donham said police could not jump to conclusions. The girls might have run in front of the car, he said.

If arresting the driver becomes appropriate, "we know exactly where he is. We'll come pick him up," Donham said.

The girls were crossing the street to go to the bathroom at a Catholic church building, Paglinawan said.

Hilo Union School locks its bathrooms just before the school day ends, he said.

Principal Ray Mizuba said the bathrooms are not always locked after school, and since the accident they have been left unlocked.

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