Memorial grows for 17-year-old girl hit, killed by car while walking to work

HICKORY, N.C. — A man has been arrested after a 17-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run collision Saturday morning in Hickory, police said.

Officers responded around 5:30 a.m. to the scene along 20th Street NE.

According to police, Brianna Nicole Page was struck while she was walking to work. She died at the scene.

Authorities searched for the car that hit her, believed to be a gray 2006-2007 Chrysler 300 with damage to the front driver’s side headlight and mirror.

On Sunday morning, officials told Channel 9 that Cesar Lozano-Mendoza turned himself in to the Hickory Police Department for the crime.

He was charged with felony hit-and-run resulting in injury or death and misdemeanor for traveling left of center. He was booked under a $15,000 secured bond.

Channel 9 learned that a candlelight vigil will be held for the girl on Monday night.

Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty visited the crash scene Monday morning, where friends and family have been building a memorial for Brianna since her death.

“I just started bawling,” friend Susan Wilson said.

Earlier, Dave was in court where he tried to question Lozano-Mendoza, who didn’t say a word.

Brianna’s mother told Channel 9 that her daughter worked at Bojangles and her friends said she walked more than a half-mile to work every day because the family didn’t have a car. Several of those friends were at the memorial on Monday, leaving flowers and balloons.

Lozano-Mendoza’s family was with him Monday at the courthouse. They told Channel 9 the collision was an accident.

“This is ridiculous,” Wilson told Channel 9. “Like, honestly, he shouldn’t have left. He should have helped her in every way he could.”

Brianna’s friends said that she was was working to support her family and hoping to go to college.

“She walked to work every, single day,” friend Alexus Rogers said. “She helped her momma pay her rent, her bills. Brianna was the sweetest, sweetest little girl.”

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact MPO D. Frye with the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551.

“She got her life took from her,” friend Tim Lafone said. “She had her whole life ahead of her, and she got robbed from it.”

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