METHUEN (CBS) — Methuen Police are looking for a driver who hit and killed an 11-year-old girl.
Jaydee Soto of Methuen was crossing Broadway with her father at 9:45 p.m. Thursday when a car, “traveling at a very high rate of speed,” according to investigators, struck her.
“A preliminary investigation indicates that the driver made no attempt to stop or slow down. CPR was administered at the scene,” police said in a statement.
The girl was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital where she died.
“The driver fled from the scene down Broadway into Lawrence. Multiple law enforcement agencies are now conducting an aggressive search for the suspect,” police said.
They issued a photo of the car they’re looking for, later describing it as possibly a small, dark Honda or Acura that may have a fog light and damage to its headlight and directional signal.
Police Chief Joseph Solomon called it a “cowardly and horrendous act.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family,” he told WBZ-TV. “The officers were visibly shaken. It’s a tough scene when it’s a child. So what we’re asking for, if you were the driver of this vehicle, please come forward and call the Methuen police.”
The initial investigation shows the girl was walking slightly ahead of her father when she was hit.
There are surveillance cameras all along Broadway and investigators are in the process of gathering that video.
“They’re going to put the video together, and hopefully get it to the State Police or FBI, try to enhance it so we can at least get a clear shot and maybe a plate,” said Solomon.
Solomon pleaded for auto shops in Methuen and nearby Lawrence and Salem, New Hampshire to call police if a car comes in with front end damage that could be consistent with hitting a person.
“We just believe it’s reprehensible, it’s outrageous,” Solomon said. “There’s no excuse for leaving. We all make mistakes. I’ve been in car accidents. You hit something. Pull over. Render aid. How do you not render aid to a person, particularly a child lying in the street?
Soto was a new student in Methuen. Superintendent of Schools Judith Scannell described Soto as having arrived to the district “with a big smile, full of excitement and a sparkle in her eyes.”
Counselors were available to any students impacted by Soto’s death.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports