Hit and Run Victim Wants Answers

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By Sam Jones
By Benjy Jeffords

FRANKLIN COUNTY— A $1,000 reward is now being offered for information on a hit-and-run crash early this month in West Frankfort.

The victim, Barbara Rybicki, nearly lost her life in the June 12 accident. She's still recovering and hopes sharing her story will lead to an arrest.

“The sidewalks are worse than the streets. It’s hard to walk on the sidewalks ‘cuz you got all these bumps,” she explained.

Rybicki was walking down the street with her granddaughter, when a car hit her from behind. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a St. Louis hospital. She suffered two broken legs and a blood clot on the brain.

“I don't know how he can live with himself. I couldn't. I wouldn't be able to do that,” she said.

Now she's bedridden, and wondering who would hit her, then keep driving.

“It would be nice if you would come forward because my daughter here she has to give up work, everything else to take care of me,” Rybicki told News 3.

The around-the-clock care is emotionally and physically draining for the entire family.

“I'm always used to being so independent and everything, so I guess you call that the hardest part,” Rybicki admitted.

Police say they have little evidence to go on. Surveillance video from the nearby Farm Fresh store shows the car on West Main after hitting Rybicki around 9:20 that Thursday night, but the images are fuzzy.

“You just don't run over somebody and leave them lying in the road.  You know, stop and look at ‘em and keep going,” said local business owner Neil Swain.

Detectives and Swain hope money will convince people to talk. Swain has matched the reward the city is offering, bringing the total amount to $1,000.

“These are just regular folks in this town so we felt it was the least we could do,” Swain said.

Chief Shaun Talluto says the car may have had multiple passengers, which means more chances for the truth to come out.

“They need to do what's right. If you have a conscience,” said Talluto.

Rybicki's counting on that. She has no insurance and faces a long recovery, filled with uncertainty, and lots of financial obstacles.

Authorities say the vehicle they're looking for is some sort of light-colored sedan. Since it was dark, the witnesses could not get a good description or the license plate number. Police want to hear any tips and say even a small piece of information could help in the investigation.

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