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Family grieving after 18-year-old pedestrian killed in hit-and-run

Police said 18-year-old Daniela Betancourt was using the crosswalk to catch the bus when a driver hit her but never stopped to help.

LINCOLNIA, Va. — The family of an Annandale High School student is questioning why a driver accused of hitting her failed to stop and call for help

Daniela Betancourt, 18, died June 3 nearly two weeks after she was hit at the intersection of Little River Turnpike near Oasis Drive in Lincolnia. Investigators said Abraham Samuel, 21, later called police to admit he was behind the wheel. Samuel was arrested for felony hit-and-run but could face more charges. The investigation revealed, so far, that alcohol is not believed to be a factor, per detectives. 

WUSA9 reviewed surveillance video from a nearby convenience store of the moment of impact. Betancourt began using the crosswalk when the pedestrian lights were flashing. 

Her family said she just left her night shift at Taco Bamba and was crossing the street to catch the bus, located less than two miles from her home. 

"Minutes and seconds count in life, so it hurts me that he left her there just like an animal," her aunt Rhonda Betancourt said. "I believe in accidents, but to leave her there? I don't even know how someone can do that."

Loved ones described Daniela Betancourt as caring and supportive of her family. While she was only employed at Taco Bambo for three weeks, relatives said she was excited to work there to practice her English. 

She and her mother moved to the U.S. from Honduras three years ago to help support her siblings back home. 

"She wanted to learn English and she did it," Rhonda Betancourt said. "She was person who came here for a purpose looking for the American dream to work hard so she can help her family in Honduras which is where the rest of her brothers and sisters who couldn't come here."

Daniela Betancourt was the eighth pedestrian killed in Fairfax County this year. Several days after her death, two more teens died in the county after a collision in Oakton. 

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses and bring her back to Honduras. 

RELATED: 2 teens killed, 3 people injured in car crash involving pedestrians

RELATED: Pedestrian seriously hurt in Fairfax Co. hit-and-run crash, police say

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