Mom is thankful young son will recover after hit-and-run accident

Published: Jun. 7, 2016 at 10:33 PM CDT
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Neighborhood besties Rylee Hale and Katie Bean are inseparable, but the two are missing one of their buddies, 4-year-old Gaberiel Landers, because he's not well enough to play after a car hit him on Friday.

Gaberiel's mom, though, is relieved her son will fully recover; the accident could have been much worse, she said, "He's good, He's rambunctious. He was up smiling the next day and being a boy--kind of sore."

On Friday, Gaberial and his older brother, Damion, were playing when their ball bounced across Beck Lane. Before Damion, 15, dashed to get the toy, he told his baby brother to stay put. "Little brother didn't listen," Cherie said.

When he darted after his brother, Gaberiel was struck by a car. The landlord's security camera recorded it. The video shows the driver did jump out to check on Gaberiel, but police said she broke the law because she took off before officers arrived.

"Had the individuals stuck around, it would have been ruled an accident," said Lebanon Police Sgt. Katie Springer.

"I don't blame her for hitting him. I blame her for leaving the scene -- that's what really tears my heart," said Cherie. "I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone else."

Lebanon police released the video to the public on Monday and someone who identified the person called in with a tip. By Tuesday morning, the driver was arrested. The suspect is in jail on a 24 hour hold; the pending charges she faces are leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a valid license.

Back in the neighborhood, the girls will soon have their buddy to play with again. They said are all going to be more careful now because the accident left a lasting impression. "He has blood on his nose and a scab right here and then he one thing it's either on this side or that," Rylee said.

And Cherie is one thankful mom, she said, "I just hug him a little tighter every night now."