Hanover mother mourns 4-year-old, urges hit-run driver to surrender

Christopher Dornblaser
  • The mother of a 4-year-old struck and killed last week asked for the suspect to turn himself in.
  • The suspect is described as white, possibly with a beard, and he was driving a white utility van, police said.

Dakota Wright's mother has a message for the driver who struck the 4-year-old girl and left her for dead.

"I'm sure you will rot in jail when they find you," Ginger Wright wrote in a public Facebook post Thursday, addressing the man responsible for the death of her daughter.

"But I hope you sit day and night and think about my baby girl, broken, bloody, helpless, lying in the road in a pool of her blood. Her dad rushing to scoop her up to try CPR to help her to no end, covered in our baby's blood as they tell us it's too late," she added.

Dakota was in the 200 block of Princess Street in Hanover when she was struck at 7:11 p.m, Tuesday, according to police. The little girl had just arrived with an adult and was crossing the street to her home when a white utility van hit her, police said. Dakota was taken to Hanover Hospital, but she could not be saved.

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The driver, described by police as a white man with a beard, fled east on Princess Street and has yet to be found.

Post: "I've never been through anything so immensely heartbreaking to see my child's last breath taken from her," Ginger Wright wrote Thursday.

She said people who never met her daughter are falling in love with Dakota's "infectious smile."

Her daughter, nicknamed "Koda," was a "beautiful, spunky, sweet, caring baby," Ginger Wright said, adding Dakota touched many lives.

Ginger Wright asked the person to turn himself in, saying that it would ease some of her pain, as well as the pain of her family and friends.

"It will never bring my beautiful princess back, but it would be a little closure for us to know maybe you have a little bit of regret," she wrote.

She ended her post with the hashtag #JusticeForDakota. The post was shared by more than 600 people.

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Dakota: In a separate Facebook message, Ginger Wright described Dakota as "high-energy," and said she loved everyone and knew no enemies or strangers. She added that her daughter would say "Hi" to everyone she passed, just to see them smile.

Ginger Wright said Dakota liked to sing and often woke her up by singing Christina Perry's "Thousand Years." She said if anyone was sad, her daughter would serenade them with "All of Me," by John Legend.

Additionally, her daughter was excited to start school in the fall. She said she would keep time by how many "sleeps" until things, and when she heard that she wouldn't start school for "300 sleeps," she was not happy.

"'That's too long; I want to go now,'" Ginger Wright recalled her daughter saying.

Investigation: Hanover Borough Police Chief Chad Martin said in an email Friday afternoon that there were no updates to the investigation. He said the department is continuing to follow up on tips.

Police have said the  driver was operating a full-sized white utility van with unknown writing on the side and a ladder rack on the roof of the van.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hanover Police at 717-637-5575, or call 911.

A friend of the Wright family has started an online fundraising effort through GoFundMe to help Dakota's parents pay for funeral expenses. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/30ipigo.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.