A Pasadena family struck in a hit and run is mystified that the driver pulled into the intersection, stopped, and then accelerated only after the family entered the crosswalk.
Alexandra Hollon and her husband, Bryan, reflected on what happened as they were walking home at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. She was carrying their 4-month-old daughter when the SUV struck them.
"It almost felt intentional," Hollon said. "I remember hitting the car and landing on the hood. And when I hit it, I think I just wrapped my arms around her."
She suffered a broken nose and their daughter suffered two fractures in her skull. Bryan Hollon escaped with bruises. The family dog, Babell, was killed.
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The SUV appeared to brake after the impact, but did not stop. Instead it accelerated south on Orange Grove Avenue in South Pasadena.
Walking east on Columbia Street, the family noticed the SUV with its left turn blinker on at Orange Grove, Bryan Hollon said.
When the light changed, the SUV pulled into the intersection and stopped. Only then did the Hollons enter the crosswalk. After four or five steps, the driver accelerated.
"Literally just gunned it to the left, right into us," Bryan Hollon said. "It was a very strange thing."
The intersection is illuminated with overhead streetlights, but the one closest to the area where the family was hit is partially blocked by trees.
Even harder to grasp was the driver fleeing the scene.
"A coward or a monster," said Bryan Hollon.
Asked if it appeared to be deliberate, or a result of distraction, the Hollans said they weren't sure. Police haven't determined who did it or why.
"There just seems to be some thought — forethought and afterthought — to what the driver was doing," said Art Miller, the chief of the South Pasadena Police Department.
Neighbors and passers-by ran to help the Hollons, awaiting the arrival of paramedics.
Rachel Emmons was driving home with her husband and stopped at the red light when it happened. Emmons did not see the impact, but heard it and looked over.
"I see a car racing down," she said. "What I remember most is the screaming."
The Hollons and the witnesses were able to provide only a partial description of the SUV: dark color, newer and smaller than full size model. It might have been a crossover-type of vehicle.
It's not known if the driver was a man or a woman.
The Hollons brought their daughter home from the hospital by midday Monday, but were advised to keep a close eye on her once they got home.
The parents were relieved, they said, that CT scans showed no brain damage.Losing the beloved family dog of seven years added to the strain.
"It was really difficult coming home to an empty house," Alexandra Hollon said as she clutched her daughter.
The Hollons agreed to speak out in the hope that anyone with information on what happened will contact police, who said they had numerous leads but made no arrests.
Alexandra Hollon works as an actor, with a number of appearances in automotive commercials.
She faces months of recovery from the nose fracture and the severe facial cuts she suffered.
Her husband is a musician who will be staying at home to help his wife and daughter through the ordeal.
"I just feel like the unluckiest, lucky guy right now," said Bryan Hollon. "I can't believe this happened. But it could have been so much worse."