Hillsborough Sheriff's Deputy Natalie Napolitano was counting cars and pedestrians Thursday morning for a safety survey when she heard an unmistakable noise.
"It was that familiar sound, when you know something got hit," she said.
When she looked up, she saw a man lying in the front yard of 806 E Hanna Ave. Napolitano ran to administer aid.
Police said the man was hit by an Oldsmobile driven by Lurvin P. Calderon, 26, who was rushing to get her 10-year-old daughter to school. The impact threw the man over a 4-foot chain-link fence.
Calderon didn't stop until she dropped her daughter off at Seminole Elementary School, less than a block away, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
Witnesses alerted another sheriff's deputy, Irazema Viera-Roquemore, who was arriving at the school to teach a safety class. Viera-Roquemore noticed Calderon's broken windshield and approached her.
Calderon, of 1017 E Fern St., told police she knew she had hit something but didn't know what it was, and did not stop because her daughter was late for school.
She faces charges of leaving the scene of a crash with injury, driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.
The victim has not been identified pending notification of family members. He is in critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital.
As Terri Thatcher returned from dropping her own daughter off at school, she saw Napolitano running to the man bleeding in her front yard. She did not know his name, but recognized him as a frequent, friendly passer-by.
Thatcher said that Calderon asked a male friend to fetch her cigarettes while she was being held by police at the scene.
"I couldn't tell from her behavior whether she was upset that she hit the man or whether she was upset she had gotten caught," Thatcher said.
Calderon was driving with a suspended license, authorities said. Her driving record includes several counts of careless driving and speeding, as well as operating without insurance.
A dancer at the 2001 Odyssey strip club, she pleaded guilty to growing marijuana last year, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show.
Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3404.