Teen hospitalized after hit and run - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teen hospitalized after hit and run

April 26, 2006

Mitchell County - James Rigsby was riding his bike on Old Georgia Three when hit by a van. The boy was thrown off the bike and hit the asphalt face first. His bike tore into shreds, and the driver of the van kept going and left him there, not knowing whether he was dead or alive.

It was after 4 PM when Mitchell County Middle School teachers Daphne Young and Tim Wesselman were finally able to leave work. It was later than they expected, but they now know there's a reason for it.

"I didn't think he was alive at first because he was not moving, his diaphragm wasn't moving," says Daphne Young. She says those are the thoughts that first went through her mind when she stopped to check on 15-year old James Rigsby after watching him fly through the air and land face first on asphalt.

She says, "The guy never slowed down in the van, until he got right up on him and it was too late for him to stop."

Young's co-worker, Tim Wesselman, went after the van. He tried to get a tag number, or a description of the driver, but before he could, the van was gone. He says, "I can't imagine the person not knowing what happened, because the boy lay in the middle of the road and the person that struck him did pull to the side and pause long enough. If he looked over his shoulder at all, or looked in the middle at all, the only thing he could have seen was the boy in the road."

Rigsby was in tremendous pain, and losing a lot of blood. Young called 911 and another driver helped divert on-coming traffic. The driver never returned, but Young hopes he'll own up to what he did. Daphne says, "I know that you are probably scared and other things were happening, but everything else, in perspective, it was so wrong. What should have superseded what you were feeling is his condition. This is a human being."

"It must be difficult to be in that driver's position right now," says Wesselman, "but his is a situation that's not going to go away. This driver is going to have to deal with this sooner or later and it's probably better if they deal with it sooner."

If you have information on the person that hit Rigsby you should contact the Thomasville post of the Georgia State Patrol at 229-225-4000 or the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office at 229-336-2030.

James Rigsby is still in the hospital, but he's listed in fair condition and should go home soon.

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