Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:39PM - 88 Views
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PDT Staff Writer

Investigators with the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol have a suspect vehicle, and a person of interest, in the case of the SUV that struck a child in June, fleeing the scene and leaving the child severely injured in the middle of the road.

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Howell of High Street, in Portsmouth, walked onto Shela Boulevard near Preston Road to retrieve a dog that had been struck by a vehicle. He was then himself struck by a black SUV traveling northwest on Shela Boulevard. The SUV fled the scene and Howell suffered multiple injuries. He was flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

“We have a vehicle we believe was involved and that we did some testing on,” Portsmouth Post Commander Lt. Karla Taulbee said. “And we’re trying to track down the owner of that vehicle. He’s out of town working. So now they’re (investigators) just going to go to where he works, and talk to him.”

Taulbee said she is awaiting results of tests done to the vehicle from the OSHP Crime Lab.

“Our crime lab gathered evidence on the suspect vehicle,” Taulbee said. “And we haven’t gotten the results back yet. We’re still looking for the driver. We have a person of interest we are looking at. We just haven’t got a hold of him yet.”

Taulbee said investigators with the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol have left no stone unturned in their attempts to locate the motorist whose vehicle struck the child.

“We’ve followed-up leads. Anytime someone has called us, I have sent a trooper there and we have documented it in the case, and people can know that we are following up on it,” Taulbee said. “Anytime someone called us, we went to their house, checked out a car. There’s probably 15 to 20 places we’ve been to already. You call us, we’re there. We’ve been everywhere.”

Charlie’s mother, Nancy Howell, says his recovery is going to take a while.

“I thank God every day that he is still with us. I just can’t believe someone would drive off and leave a five (foot) seven, 170-pound child like that. It has been rough on him, but he’s been a trooper though,” Howell said. “He’s a good kid. He had the surgery a few weeks ago and he is bouncing back through rehabilitation. Charlie is still unable to walk on his leg that had surgery.

“He’s doing really well for the shape that he’s in. We’ve got one surgery done on his knee to repair the meniscus on July 19, and we’re getting ready here around the (Aug.) 20th, he’s going to have another surgery on his knee. It’s going to be a bigger one because the things to hold your knee together are all ripped and torn, so this next one is going to be a pretty long surgery so he can walk again.”

Howell said doctors will be able to take a part from his leg to repair his posterior Cruciate Ligament, but a donor part would be used for repair of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. She said her son still has to use a walker and a chair and he is still in a back brace because his eleventh and twelfth vertebrae were broken. She said another C-T scan will be done in approximately four weeks.

Howell said she is unsure what the situation will be when school reopens. She said her son, who is a straight-A student, may require a tutor while he recovers from his injuries.

Taulbee said anyone with information about the incident should call the Portsmouth Post of the OSHP at 740-354-2888.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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