WATERLOO – The driver who was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident that injured a girl in April has been arrested.
James Harold Smith, 52, of 1017 Mulberry St., was arrested Thursday for leaving the scene of an injury accident, child endangerment causing serious injury, driving while suspended and making a false report to law enforcement. He was initially held without bond.
The child’s mother, 32-year-old Anita Nelson, who is Smith’s girlfriend, was arrested earlier this month on a charge of making a false report in connection with the case.
The arrests stem from an April 18 incident where Nelson told police that a vehicle had struck her 11-year-old daughter near their Mulberry Street home, and the vehicle drove off.
Nelson allegedly told police she didn’t know who hit her daughter, and she denied her boyfriend was involved. Authorities allege she told her other children and witnesses what to tell police because she didn’t want to get Smith in trouble.
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Court records allege that the girl and other children were playing on the vehicle that Smith was idling in the driveway. At some point, he became inpatient and accelerated out of the driveway and drove down the street, records state.
The girl was thrown from the vehicle, and Smith allegedly circled around and talked with Nelson before leaving, records state. Police allege Smith knew what had happened and left to dodge charges.
The girl was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City for treatment and she was placed in a medically induced coma. She was in stable but critical condition earlier this month, records state.
Investigators talked to Smith about the accident, and he told officers he was at another address at the time and wasn’t aware of what happened until the following day, according to court records.