Carissa Adaobi Nwene (April 15, 1994 – Nov 16, 2007) was 13 years old when a van struck her and she was left to die on the side of the road.
On November 16, 2007, at 828 am the Desert Hot Springs Police Department (DHSPD) in California received a call. A severely injured child was lying in a field next to Palm Dr, between Camino Aventura and Camino Campesino. This is a major four lane passageway that bisects the city.
Carissa’s injuries showed that she was struck by a passing van and was hurtled off the roadway into the field. Despite all efforts to save her life, she never regained consciousness and passed away as a result of her injuries.
The investigation found that Carissa left her home and was walking to her school in the desert area next to the east side of Palm Drive around 730 am. They think it took about 45 min before she was found.
If I understand correctly, Carissa wasn’t allowed on the school bus because she lived too close to school. Whoever made that decision didn’t take into account the lack of safe pavement along the route Carissa had to walk. Apparently safety wasn’t a concern. I hope that has changed now. Check this website to see for yourself what a deplorable situation it was and that even now the improvements feel not safe at all.
Police think that the van that struck Carissa is a white 2003-2005 Ford E series [Econoline] panel van [E-150, E-250 or E-350]. The van should have sustained damage to the right front turn signal corner from the impact. Check this site to get an idea what the van looked like.
As Palm Dr. is a well-traveled area police do believe that someone saw Carissa being hit. Maybe people didn’t see Carissa herself. Maybe you just saw a reckless driver heading north into Desert Hot Springs. Maybe you saw a white van zigzagging in their lane. Maybe you saw a white van suddenly braking and then driving off again. Maybe you heard other cars honk and then saw a light-coloured van go north. Police is asking anyone with information to come forward.
Carissa’s mom Shelia told the press: “I was still in front of my home when I heard the sound. I heard the crash,” Shelia said. “I looked up and, because the weeds were so tall, I didn’t see anything.” Carissa was killed on her parents’ wedding anniversary.
If you are the driver please know that your behaviour caused the death of a child. You hit her and you just left her there to die. Did you even get out of the van to check on her or did you just leave? Why? How could you not have checked on this child? Please do the right thing and turn yourself in. Police will find you. You broke the law and caused a child’s death.
If you have any information please call the DHSPD at (760) 329-2904 or call Sgt. Dan Bressler at (760) 329-6411 ext 315.
Rest in peace, Carissa Adaobi Nwene.