Families offer reward for conviction in hit-and-run
CHAMPAIGN — The families of two University of Illinois students are offering a $5,000 reward in the hit-and-run accident that injured their daughters, and are asking the driver in the early-Sunday incident to come forward.
"We respectfully ask the individual who did this to come forward," said Dr. Krishna Tangella, a physician at Christie Clinic whose daughter, Kaelyn Buckner, 19, was hurt in the collision.
"Whoever did this should have some sense of responsibility," said Mary Nair, whose daughter, Tara Nair, 20, also was hurt.
The daughters are roommates at the UI, where they are both juniors. Buckner was listed in fair condition late Monday afternoon. Nair was listed in stable condition Monday night.
They were both seriously injured after they were hit by a car at Fourth Street and Springfield Avenue on Sunday morning.
The two women were walking north in the west crosswalk when a white four-door car traveling west on Springfield hit them about 2:15 a.m., Champaign police reported.
Witnesses said the car slowed after striking the women, then ran over them and drove on.
Mary Nair said she got a phone call about 3 a.m. Sunday from Carle Hospital, where both women were taken.
"It's never a call you want to get," Nair said, while waiting Monday for her daughter to get out of surgery.
Likewise, Tangella got a phone call from a friend of his daughter.
His daughter was operated on Sunday and again Monday, he said.
"Given the circumstances, she's doing OK," he said.
The families say they will make a combined reward of $5,000 for information that leads to a criminal conviction in the incident.
On Monday afternoon, UI police sent a campuswide email, asking for anyone with information to call police. The email said UI and Champaign police were working together and added that they were analyzing video from security cameras in the area to try to identify the driver and vehicle.
Deputy Chief Troy Daniels said the driver apparently made a "split-second" decision to leave the scene.
"The best thing he or she can do now is come forward as soon as possible," Daniels said.
"There are parents who are suffering," said Tangella, "and obviously concerned about our daughters."
"They need to face up to what they've done," Nair said.
Champaign police are asking anyone with information about the accident to contact the police department, 351-4545, or Crimestoppers at 373-8477.
Anonymous tips can be given at http://www.373tips.com. People with information can also text the keyword CCTIP plus the tip information to 274637 (CRIMES).
Crimestoppers will pay a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the driver.