3-year-old improving after hit-and-run in Avon Park

A 3-year-old girl who was badly hurt in a hit-and-run crash in Avon Park is now awake, but facing a long recovery, her family said Wednesday.

Brianna Fuentes was walking to a park with her family Saturday when, as they were crossing North Lake Avenue, a white Chevrolet Malibu came speeding toward them.

"We didn't see him because he came so fast. He didn't even brake. He just kept going," Adalinda Ramos, the little girl's mother said through an interpreter.

The vehicle hit Brianna, but the driver didn't stop, leaving the child unconscious.

"I don't even know how he had the heart to not even stop to check on my daughter, and leave her there on the side of the road," Ramos said.

Brianna suffered a broken leg, and scrapes and bruises on her face.

Meanwhile, Ramos and the girl's father, Rony Fuentes, have not left their daughter's bedside at Tampa General Hospital.

"I want to thank God and all the people that have worried and prayed for her," Ramos said. "I feel good because she is getting better. If I would have lost her, it would have been terrible."

Highlands County deputies were searching for the driver and the vehicle, a Chevrolet Malibu with tinted windows, standard wheels and rims, along with a sun roof and a spoiler.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Highlands County Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers.