NBC10 Philadelphia - Deanna Durante
Michelle Toussaint was behind the wheel of a car when she struck and severely injured two women and left the scene on Saturday night. Police say Toussaint was driving with a suspended license when the incident happened. NBC10's Deanna Durante reports.
Police arrested a woman with a history of driving violations in a hit-and-run that left two women injured over the weekend.
Police say cousins Catherine Calalang, 28, and Laurene Jiminez, 20, were struck by a vehicle while walking back to their home on Saturday near Haddonfield-Berlin Road in Camden County.
Police say Calalang managed to get home to call for help while Jimenez was unconscious. They were taken to Cooper Medical Center.
Calalang had five of her teeth knocked out and was treated and released.
"So mad, angry, I want to see her," Calalang told NBC10's Rosemary Connors. "Im going to show her what happened."
Jiminez remained in critical condition Monday after suffering head injuries, broken ribs and a punctured lung. Investigators say Jiminez was visiting the area from the Philippines.
On Sunday, NBC10 spoke with Josh Llamas, Catherine's fiance.
"She's traumatized," said Llamas. "Every time she closes her eyes she sees the car."
Llamas also tells NBC10 their wedding is planned for Feb. 4.
"We were getting our wedding done and all of a sudden this happened," said Llamas.
Michele Toussaint, Credit: Voorhees Township Police
Police say they received an anonymous tip on Sunday at 2 p.m. which led them to the 200 block of Stevens Place in Magnolia, N.J. When they arrived they say they found the damaged vehicle in the hit-and-run, a 2006 Burgundy Ford Fusion, on the street. After taking the vehicle to a storage area, police say they were led to a person of interest in the case, Michele Toussaint, 44, of Berlin, N.J.
On Sunday, around 6:40 p.m., police say they were checking an area of interest in Voorhees when they spotted a vehicle making an illegal turn. Police pulled the vehicle over and identified Toussaint as the passenger. Toussaint was with a relative who was driving and claimed she was heading to police to turn herself in, according to investigators. She was taken into custody without incident.
On Monday Toussaint was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, endangering an injured victim and causing injury while driving on a suspended license. She was remanded to the Camden County Correctional Facility on $62,500 bail. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Toussaint has had 52 driver’s license suspensions since 1991. The DMV also states she has had 16 moving violations since her driver’s license was issued in 1986.
NBC10 spoke with Nancy Smith, Toussaint's neighbor.
"She didn't seem like the type of person to do something like that," said Smith, who says she's known Toussaint's family for decades.
Smith says she's especially shocked because Toussaint's own husband died in a car crash.
"I can't understand how she can leave the scene of an accident especially when her own husband was killed in a car accident and the devastation it's done to her own child," said Smith. "I can't see how she can do this to somebody else's family."
NBC10 tried to talk to Toussaint's family but a woman who answered the door quickly closed it.
The family of Catherine and Laurene released the following statement:
Family of the victims would like to thank the Voorhees township police for their efforts in finding the person responsible for what happened to Catherine and Laurene and for constantly extending their reassurance to us. We would also like to thank the media for getting our story out, making the community aware of our plea for justice. We are relieved and thankful for the news that came today. We are in gratitude to the person who made the call to the authorities. We are grateful to everyone who prayed with us and who sent their support to Cathy and Laurene. They both have a long way to go before fully recovering but we are hopeful that they and the rest of the family can begin moving forward after today.