'They had to have known': family of hit-and-run victim urges driver to come forward

The family of a woman struck in a hit and run near Morrisburg, Ont., says she's facing a long road to recovery, and is asking the driver who hit her to come forward.

Ashley Cole, 24, struck on Shannette Road near Morrisburg, Ont., Sunday night

Sharon Chater found Ashley Cole in a snowbank after a hit and run incident, and said she faces a long road to recovery. 0:37

The family of a woman struck in a hit and run near Morrisburg, Ont., says she's facing a long road to recovery, and is asking the driver who hit her to come forward.

Ashley Cole, 24, was waiting for a ride home from her boyfriend's house on Shannette Road Sunday night when she was struck, said Sharon Chater, her boyfriend's mother.

It's heartbreaking to know that the person who did this had no remorse.- Sharon Chater, mother of victim's boyfriend

"To be honest with you, we thought she was dead," Chater said. "She was barely moving, she was barely speaking."

Ontario Provincial Police are now looking for the driver of a dark four-door car with oval-shaped headlights, which left the scene without stopping.

Cole was found lying in a snowbank at the side of the road, a significant distance from where she had been standing at the end of the driveway, Chater said. 

Ashley Cole was found in a snowbank at the side of Shannette Road after being struck. (Jonathan Dupaul/CBC)

"It's heartbreaking to know that the person who did this had no remorse," she said. "Even if you thought you hit an animal or a chunk of ice ... they had to have known they hit something."

She's urging the driver of the car to come forward, and said the whole family has been affected by the incident.

"We close our eyes and we just picture her laying there."

Dangerous road

Chater said Shannette Road is known for being poorly lit, with drivers often speeding down the sparsely populated lane.

We just want to find the car so we can get her justice.- Melissa Cole, victim's sister

It's gotten to the point where she's hesitant to let her young daughter and granddaughter go outside when they come to visit, she said.

"They love being outside and it's not fair to them that I have to keep them cooped up because of the idiots that drive down this road."

The vehicle that struck Cole was last seen turning onto Strader Road in South Dundas.

Extensive injuries

Investigators have at least one piece of physical evidence to go on, Chater said.

"When the vehicle hit Ashley, it hit her so hard that it broke a piece of the front bumper skirt off," she said, adding that Cole's injuries include a severely broken hip, broken ribs and internal bleeding. 

Cole is awaiting surgery at an Ottawa hospital to repair her pelvis, said Melissa Cole, Ashley's sister. After that procedure, she said her sister will have to go through a long process of physiotherapy to regain her independence. 

"We just want to find the car so we can get her justice," she said. "She's only 24. She's young and her entire life is going to be changed." 

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP at 1-888-310-1122, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.