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Driver Hits, Kills Girl On Bike, Then Speeds Off

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Mariela Cristostomo (Family Photo)

Mariela Cristostomo (Family Photo)

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UPDATED: 6/13/11 6:05 p.m

CHICAGO (CBS)– Police are searching for the driver of a sport-utility vehicle who hit and killed a little girl riding a bicycle, then sped off on the city’s Southwest Side.

Mariela Cristostomo was riding her bike in the 3300 block of West 62nd Place around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, when a gray or silver SUV that was headed east on the street hit her and fled the scene, authorities said.

Residents told CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot that they have been complaining about gang activity in the area and speeders along the street. They have asked the city to install speed bumps.

“I want no one to feel the pain that I feel now,” said Mariela’s mother, Margarita Patino, who pleaded with the driver to come forward.

“How can you live with yourself? Turn yourself in.”

After being hit by the car, the child landed under a parked vehicle, said a witness, Marlene Lopez.

“I just seen the little girl and her bike, fly,” she said. “She flew and she went underneath a car.”

Lopez ran over to help Mariela, who was pinned under a parked SUV on the street.

“She was breathing heavily, but she wasn’t speaking at all,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the driver was a woman.

“She had to have seen,” said Lopez. “She panicked. She just left. I was just running and waving my hands, so she could stop, screaming stop. She didn’t.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The crash happened on the same block as the girl’s home.

Mariela was pronounced dead at 4:08 a.m. Wednesday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the medical examiner’s office.

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