Woman arrested after Mesa hit-and-run left 4-year-old girl seriously hurt

A 4-year-old is recovering from multiple injuries after a hit-and-run crash in Mesa and her family says she's a fighter.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:25 AM MST|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:39 AM MST

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Mesa police say a woman is facing charges after leaving the scene of an accident that left a 4-year-old girl in the hospital with serious injuries.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. on Sunday near Main Street and LeSuer. Bea, her mom, and her siblings were crossing the street after a trip to the Mesa Arizona Temple’s Visitors Center. Bea got ahead of the group and was reportedly hit by 48-year-old Veronica Laprada. “What kind of humanity is that? Knowing you did something and not stopping at the very least to see if you can help in any way,” said Bea’s uncle, Christopher Stapley.

Bea was rushed to the hospital. Stapley says Bea’s 13-year-old sister saw the entire thing. “Very difficult to process what she had seen. It’s an experience all of us certainly are feeling the same way,” he said.

According to officers, Laprada slowed down near the crash scene but then sped off. Surveillance footage also gathered by detectives discovered that the silver car had black rims, and witnesses gave them a description of the suspect.

On Monday, officers found a car matching the description of Laprada’s vehicle at an apartment complex near Main Street and Horne. That vehicle, which was in a designated parking spot, led officers to the apartment where they found Laprada. Police say she was the driver at the time of the crash.

Laprada is now in jail, facing a felony count of failing to remain on the scene of a serious injury crash. Police haven’t said what factors might have led up to the crash.

As Bea lies in her hospital bed, Stapley says his family is thankful the driver was caught. He has this message. “We recognize we all make mistakes. Please just own the mistakes and learn from it and help be a cause for good in the future,” he said.

Stapley says Bea is still in Phoenix Children’s Hospital on Tuesday night. She is being treated for a brain bleed, broken ribs, and a punctured lung. Her family says she had surgery on her face on Monday and has scars all over her body.

Stapley describes Bea as a strong, creative, independent girl who is passionate about what she enjoys. “All of those traits have given us hope because we know she’s a fighter at the end of the day, and we can see that. My sister expressed where she can see, things could turn for the worst, but she’s there and she’s fighting,” he said.

To donate to the family’s GoFundMe, click/tap here.