Mother Involved In Hit And Run Dies

June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 8:27 AM EDT

By WKBW News

June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 8:27 AM EDT

Niagara Falls, N.Y. (WKBW) – A Niagara Falls mother has died after being hit by a car, but she is also being called a hero for saving her son’s life. Police are calling the driver a coward, after the person fled the scene.

Nicole Rodriguez, 26, and her son Christopher Pelfrey, 7, were crossing the street when the car struck them. It all happened around 10 o’clock Monday night on Hyde Park Boulevard in Niagara Falls. The driver fled he scene, leaving the mother-son duo helpless on the ground.

The young boy was rushed to Women and Children’s Hospital with minor cuts and bruises. Rodriguez went to ECMC where she died of her injuries.

Rodriguez’s mother Dana Rivers said the family is devastated but she also said she is proud of her daughter’s selfless actions.

"She pushed her son out of the way and took the full impact so she could save her son,” Rivers said.

People who live and work nearby where the accident happened said it is a dangerous intersection and something must be done to make the area safer.

“They're going pretty fast coming down that hill, which is a 30 mile per hour zone. It causes a lot of problems because people can't get across and people cant get their cars into the intersection,” Willy Emmons said.

As for the driver, authorities are still searching. Niagara Falls Police are looking for an older model maroon vehicle, described as “boxy”. It likely has front-end damage and possibly a broken window. If you have any information call the Niagara Falls Police Traffic Division at 286-4563.

Christopher is home with his father, expected to make a full recovery. Rodriguez leaves behind many family members, including her son, and a two-year-old daughter. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.