Public responds, GI police find hit & run suspect

Teenage girl in critical condition with broken spine
Grand Island Police arrested 21-year-old Luis Ruiz following a hit and run accident that left a...
Grand Island Police arrested 21-year-old Luis Ruiz following a hit and run accident that left a young girl paralyzed.(Hall County Department of Corrections)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A 13-year-old girl injured in a Saturday morning car crash in Grand Island is in critical condition with back and internal injuries.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Grand Island Police arrested the man they believe caused the accident and fled the scene.

GIPD arrested 21-year-old Luis Ruiz, of Grand Island. He’s facing charges including felony leaving the scene of an accident without rendering aid and misdemeanor willful reckless driving. Other charges may be pending.

Police said the accident happened around 6:30 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Anderson Avenue and South Locust Street.

According to police, a white 2012 Chrysler 300 was westbound on Anderson Avenue when it drove through a stop sign and struck the passenger side of a north-bound silver 2014 Ford Escape driven by Brandy Atkinson, 47, of Grand Island. Atkinson’s 13-year-old daughter Samantha was riding on the passenger side. She was trapped in the vehicle for a time and suffered life-threatening injuries. The teen is in critical condition at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. She is paralyzed from the chest down.

The Ford Escape spun out and struck a south-bound white GMC Terrain driven by Estel Ummel, 64, of Grand Island. Neither Brandy Atkinson nor Ummel suffered life-threatening injuries.

GIPD appealed to the public Wednesday for their help in locating Ruiz. A few hours later, police made the arrest after getting quick responses from several concerned citizens.

Police said the Chrysler vehicle was reported stolen after the accident Saturday morning.

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