CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A West Charlotte community is rallying around a family, just days after the father and his 7-month-old baby girl were hit while crossing a street in a crosswalk.
The crash happened just before 11 a.m. Friday at the intersection of West Boulevard at Old Steele Creek Road.
Leday Phommabouth was holding his 7-month-old baby girl, crossing over West Boulevard. His girlfriend, Niponda Cynthia Rasavong, was a few steps ahead. Rasavong said the family made it to the center median when the light turned yellow.
"I assumed she was going to slow down because she saw me and my husband crossing," Rasavong told NBC Charlotte. "He was holding our baby girl."
But instead of slowing down, Rasavong said the driver came straight through the intersection hitting her boyfriend and baby girl, Alea.
“My heart dropped. I ran to her and picked her up. She was screaming her lungs off,” says Rasavong.
A clerk who works at the Fuel Mart at the intersection said she saw it happen from the store’s front window and recognized the family, saying they are regulars at the store.
“When she hit him, he flipped and when he flipped the baby was tossed in the air and she came down and hit the ground,” said the clerk.
Rasavong said the baby suffered a fractured skull, a little bleeding on the brain and a bruise on her leg, but was released just days later. She says Phommabouth was released from the hospital Tuesday after suffering two broken legs.
“His right side broke in 4 places, his thigh bone, his knee shattered, his shin bone — it broke so bad that it broke through the skin," Rasavong said. "He has 26 screws in his right leg. He can’t walk, he can’t feel his legs, he’s in so much pain. Even in the hospital with pain meds, it didn’t help that much."
Rasavong said she’s grateful both survived and she credits the baby’s survival on a thick blanket that was wrapped around her at the time of the crash, saying she thinks the thick blanket cushioned her fall a little.
Since the crash, employees of the Fuel Mart have been collecting donations for the family.
Manager Adriane Phillips said Rasavong was supposed to start work there Wednesday. Now that they’ll both be out of work, Phillips says they’re doing everything they can to help her, including starting a GoFundMe page.
“We also want to raise awareness about crosswalks,” said Phillips.
Saturday, Phillips and a group of volunteers plan to hand out fliers with crosswalk safety information to members of the West Charlotte community, saying many around there walk. She says they plan to educate pedestrians and drivers.
“Pay attention and stay off your phones. A lot of texting and driving, not paying attention to their surroundings,” says Phillips.
Twenty-four pedestrians have died this year in Charlotte, making it one of the deadliest on record. The West End is particularly dangerous for pedestrians, because of how many people walk and how spread out the crosswalks are, some by nearly a mile.
West Boulevard Ministry Executive Director, Bart Noonan is also collecting donations, food and baby goods for the family. He can be reached at (980)-298-9027.
The driver in this incident was not charged.