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Police find victim at fault in hit and run

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Posted at 6:17 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 07:09:13-04

Ashanti Bowers remembers the moment of decision.

"There were no cars. I looked both ways. The road was empty so I ran," Bowers, 13, said.

She tried to cross Holabird Avenue and was hit by a red Mercedes that shattered her hip and just kept going.

"He should have at least stopped. I'm sure he saw me," said the Dundalk teen.

Twenty-eight hours later, after parking his damaged car on East Lombard Street in Baltimore and removing the tags, 31-year old Jimy Chavarria walked into the Dundalk police precinct.

Related: Driver ID'd in Dundalk hit-and-run that injured a 13-year-old girl

"He also turned himself in with a lawyer in hopes that he wouldn't be arrested and he wasn't,” said Ashanti’s mother, Amy Bowers, “They let us know that they wrote him citations, which was very disturbing to us as the family."

Chavarria refused to provide a statement to police and he was in no mood to talk to us today about walking away from the incident with a traffic citation.

The problem with the case stems from the accident itself, which her sister commented on while the search was still on for the suspect.

"You can easily see someone walking across the street, especially a girl with a backpack and a jacket tied around her? You'll be able to see that. There's no way you wouldn't see that," Kayla Jones old us at the scene of the accident back in March.

Jones told ABC2 her sister was in the crosswalk.

ABC2 asked Cpl. John Wachter of the Baltimore County Police Department at the time whether they knew if she was in a marked crosswalk.

"That I don't know," he replied.

See also: 13-year-old girl injured in Dundalk hit-and-run accident

But after an extensive investigation into the crash, police say they now have an answer.

"The pedestrian in this case ran out into Holabird Avenue,” said Police Spokeswoman Elise Armacost, “She was not in a marked crosswalk."

That means, in the eyes of the law, Ashanti was responsible for the crash, and the driver's actions after the fact aren't considered to be criminal.

"He is probably driving his car having a good time living his life and here we are having to walk this little girl through recovery,” said Ashanti’s mother, “It's been traumatic, and it's almost as if he has no consequences."

Police say by the time the driver turned himself in, it was too late to test whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

The traffic citation, alone, could still carry a stiff fine and even jail time.

Meanwhile, the Bowers family has received its first hospital bill for $94,000 with more to follow. It's not clear if they will have any legal recourse to get compensation from the driver.

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