DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Law enforcement officers said they have arrested suspect in the hit-and-run crash where a 9-year-old girl was hit by a vehicle while playing in her yard with another child. The crash was caught on jaw-dropping surveillance video.
Tuesday night, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said 28-year-old Gabriel Jabri Fordham of Lithonia, is charged with failure to maintain lane, failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving, hit-and-run, and serious injury by vehicle.
The crash happened near the intersection of Cherokee Valley Drive and Cherokee Valley Way in Lithonia just before 7 p.m., Friday.
DeKalb County Police said LaDerihanna Holmes was playing outside in the yard with 11-year-old Alayshia Phillips when suddenly a car came across the yard. Police said warrants state the car was traveling at a high rate of speed.
In the video, a car can be seen careening down the street and hitting a curb before blowing through the intersection. In the next instant, the car is in the front yard and slams into the two girls and hits the house.
After a few seconds, a man - presumed to be Fordham, the driver of the car - can be seen running away from the house and down the street as people from inside the house flood outside in disbelief.
When police got to the scene, they found the car still inside the home - tire marks and a trail of debris leading into the front yard. Miraculously the girls were not killed.
Police said LaDerihanna had to be taken to the hospital for a fractured skull and broken pelvis. Phillips, the 11-year-old, sustained a foot injury.
LeDerihanna's mother, Charlette, said the video was so devastating, she could only watch it once.
"I can't look at it again," she said. " I can't look at it again."
"It didn't just hit her, it threw her through a brick wall," described the family's attorney Chris Stewart. "Their house has a massive, gaping hole."
That hole was quickly covered by a piece of plywood, but recovery for LaDerihanna will be slow.
"She will have to learn to walk again. She suffered a fractured skull, a severely fractured pelvis in three places. Severe lacerations," the attorney listed. "Her right valve in her heart is leaking."
Family said said they are grateful that she survived, but even more so that a suspect has been caught.
"Justice well-served," said LaDerihanna's brother Trevon Hughley said. "A 9-year-old, let alone any child, shouldn't have to go through that, and I'm just glad he (was) caught."
Hughley told 11Alive LaDerihanna has been moved to a rehabilitation center and will be going through therapy for the next few weeks. Through it all, the family said the 9-year-old is still smiling.
Deputies said Fordham was taken to the DeKalb County Jail.
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