'Huge shock' in community after crash leaves girl, 11, critically hurt
- Credit: Archant
People in Ipswich have expressed shock after a hit-and-run crash left an 11-year-old girl in a critical condition.
The driver of a BMW failed to stop for police officers just after 7pm on February 3 and "after a very short time" crashed into a parked car in Burlington Road in which a family of four were sitting.
A 11-year-old girl sustained serious head injuries and was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital. She remains in a critical but stable condition.
The male driver fled the scene.
Councillor Peter Gardiner, who represents the Gipping ward and sits on the Suffolk Police and Crime Panel, said: "It's terrible that anything like this could happen to anyone, but particularly someone so young, when innocently sitting in a parked car.
"It's a huge shock for people locally but people in this area do pull together quite well and I know they'll support each other however they can.
"It is very strange for such an event to happen and although I've not had too much feedback from residents, I think the police have been very clear and people can be reassured that incidents like this are rare."
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The girl's mother, father and a second younger child were all checked over in hospital, but they have since been discharged.
They are currently being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.
No other members of the public were hurt in this incident.
The driver was described as black, in his 20s, around 5 feet 2 inches tall, and of slim build.
Police said he was wearing a long black padded coat with a white emoji design on the hood, light coloured tracksuit trousers and white trainers.
Officers are conducting various lines of enquiry to locate the suspect including a forensic examination of the BMW and searching CCTV footage as police remain concerned for his welfare and are keen to trace his whereabouts.
One resident said: "I saw the fire trucks and ambulances and they closed the whole road for a long time.
"I hope the girl is OK and recovers.
"Police were going around looking for eyewitnesses but I'm not sure if they found anything."
Detective Superintendent Kerry Cutler said: “This incident took place at a busy time of day with people going shopping, coming home from work or going to and from various after-school clubs.
"This could have been any family sat waiting in their car and could have happened to any one of us so please, if you saw the suspect running away, know who the suspect is or where he may be please get in touch.
"We have a number of officers focussed on the search to locate him but we are very keen for people to come forward who may have witnessed what happened and help us to find him.”
The road was closed for several hours on Thursday night following the incident but was reopened for access this morning.
The incident has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), which is a matter of course in such incidents.
A referral to the IOPC does not automatically mean that an investigation will be undertaken, as that is for the IOPC to decide.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or who was driving in the area at the time and has dashcam or mobile phone footage is asked to contact Suffolk police, quoting reference CAD 335 of yesterday, February 3.