'Guardian angel': Lyft driver finds teen seriously hurt after hit-and-run

Rilyn Ellis fighting for his life at hospital; Michael Harris arrested by police

By Brittany Muller - Reporter

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - A 19-year-old man was arrested after another 19-year-old man was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend in St. Simons Island and helped by a good Samaritan, the Glynn County Police Department announced Tuesday.

According to police, Michael Harris was driving the vehicle that struck Rilyn Ellis on Frederica Road near Saint Clair Drive about 2 a.m. Saturday. Police said the vehicle took off and a driver passing by found Rilyn Ellis lying on the roadway with serious injuries.

Family photo of Rilyn Ellis

"He really just tried to keep himself in high spirits. 'I just want to live. I just want to live. I just want to live,'" said Shaequan Seabrook, a Lyft driver who said she found Rilyn Ellis in the road and called 911. "He was fighting for himself."

Stephanie Ellis, Rilyn Ellis' aunt, said her nephew (pictured) was walking to his grandmother's home when he was hit.

"He was left alone for dead for who knows how long," Stephanie Ellis said. "What if someone else would’ve came by? What if no one would’ve came by? How would you feel? How would your parents feel?"

Seabrook said it's fortunate that she happened to see Rilyn Ellis and heard him call for help.

"Everything happens for a reason," Seabrook said. "I'm just thankful I was able to get there because it's so dark."

Rilyn Ellis' aunt said it was a "blessing."

"If she didn’t see him and someone else came (by), he probably just would’ve been a speed bump," Stephanie Ellis said. "I feel like she was a guardian angel because if no one would’ve came and if someone would’ve came and ran him over, he could’ve been dead."

Police said Rilyn Ellis, of St. Simons Island, was transported to Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick campus and then transferred to UF Health Jacksonville. 

Booking photo of Michael Harris

Harris (pictured), of St. Simons Island, and the vehicle were located Monday evening, investigators said. Harris was then arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and causing serious injury by vehicle.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.

Rilyn Ellis' family told News4Jax on Wednesday that he has a fractured neck and broken bones, and has a long road to recovery ahead. Family members said he underwent the first of three surgeries on Tuesday at the hospital in Jacksonville.

The family asks for prayers to get through this tough time. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Rilyn Ellis' medical expenses. 

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