1 year since teen's death in hit-and-run
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends of a 15-year-old St. Augustine girl killed a year ago by a hit-and-run driver came together Sunday for a vigil in her memory.
Police said Haley Smith was walking near the Publix on Kenton Morrison Road around 8:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2013, when she was hit by what they believe was a gold SUV or truck.
On Sunday, Smith's loved ones gathered at her favorite place -- the beach. Her family said keeping her story alive serves as a constant reminder that a life was taken, and they want the driver brought to justice.
Smith's mother, Jo-Lee Manning, remembers the night she lost her daughter and best friend.
"Getting the phone call, driving to the hospital, she was already in surgery when I got there, and then of course she passed away while in surgery," said Manning. "(It's) just very difficult."
Smith would have been 16 years old. During the vigil, family and friends decorated the place she was hit with balloons and flowers.
"There isn't a day that goes by that somebody doesn't ride by here," said Bill Manning, Smith's father. "I ride by here, because I don't want (anybody) tearing up what that we've got going because it's all for Haley."
On Sunday night, balloons were released in Smith's honor, and her mother said it's a way of keeping her memory alive.
"You know that somebody knows -- somebody knows something," said Jo-Lee Manning. "We just want to understand why and how it could happen. How they could leave her? I understand accidents can happen but the not coming back and not helping her is hard for me to understand."
Smith's father is staying positive, hoping at some point someone comes forward.
"Today, she's looking down and telling us, 'Thank you,'" said Bill Manning. "As long as we have her in our heart, she'll always be here."
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