COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Deadly hit and run. A pedestrian accident over the weekend raises safety concerns over Route 1 in College Park.
Mike Hellgren has more on the growing calls to improve safety.
WJZ spoke with the family of Janelle Oni and has more on what they’re hoping for.
Investigators say the driver who hit Oni had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.
Ana Burnett is dealing with an unbelievable loss.
“That was my star. She was a good girl. She was an angel,” Burnett said.
The angel Burnett is talking about is her 21-year-old daughter, Janelle Oni.
A recent Salisbury University graduate, Oni had nothing but a bright future ahead. That was until Saturday around 3 a.m. when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver in College Park.
“I’m still in disbelief. I spoke to her earlier in the day,” said Hector Brown, victim’s stepfather.
Prince George’s County Police say Oni was crossing Route 1 near Hartwick Avenue when a van slammed into her. They say the driver, identified as 33-year-old Jacky Luangraj, then fled the scene.
“She was a human being and he just hit her and left. You don’t even do that to an animal. People get mad when a dog gets hit. That was my only child,” Burnett said. “I hope that something changes.”
A short time later, officers spotted Luangraj’s vehicle and arrested him. His capture is only a small comfort to Oni’s loved ones, which include an extended family of sorority sisters.
“Janelle never did not have a smile on her face. Any room she ever was in, she lit up,” said Ivory Bell, sorority sister.
Within the past year, that stretch of Route 1, also known as Baltimore Avenue, has had a series of accidents, including two other deaths.
In May, city and University of Maryland leaders urged state highway officials to make improvements to crosswalks and intersections.
The fire department calls it dangerous and the SHA says it’s reviewing the incident.
“You see it a lot and it’s bad,” said one nearby resident.
Burnett not only wants to make sure those changes happen, she won’t rest until her daughter’s alleged killer pays for what he did.
“I’m not going to see her ever again. I’m not going to see her do all the things she wanted to do because he did that,” she said.
Oni would have celebrated her 22nd birthday on July 11. She was also set to start graduate school in the fall.
The driver who allegedly hit her is facing 13 charges, including negligent auto homicide.
The SHA says every 60 hours, a drunk driver kills someone in Maryland.
For more information on how you can help the family, click here.
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