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Charges now possible for driver who hit and killed 4-year-old girl in Mall of Georgia parking lot

By Hope Dean

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    ATLANTA (WANF) — The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that it will pursue charges against a driver who hit and killed a 4-year-old girl in the Mall of Georgia’s parking lot last month.

The decision comes after the county police department said the 18-year-old would face no charges. District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson said the oncoming counts will likely be misdemeanors. The district attorney did not say who the driver was on Tuesday.

On March 10, officers were called to the parking lot in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods, where they found three people injured. Abigail Hernandez, 4, was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, where she was pronounced dead.

Police said the driver, who was driving a 2004 pickup truck, was turning left onto the Mall of Georgia Drive when he hit the group.

In a statement, police formerly said that only “serious traffic offenses” like reckless driving and driving under the influence can be enforced on private property. The teen driver wasn’t reckless or under any influence, according to police.

But Abigail’s family told Atlanta News First that they believed the system had failed her.

“She loved to dance, she loved going to the park. She was little sassy Abby,” her mother Marina Hernandez said. “I have that feeling that she is still here, like maybe I’ll see her tomorrow. I don’t know if that is a good thing, but I just want to hold her.”

Marina’s sister-in-law, Lauren Paz, said involuntary manslaughter should count as a serious traffic offense.

“They may not have wanted to lock him up and ruin his life, but we didn’t want to put her into the ground,” she said.

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