Mother Dead After Pushing Son From Path of Hit-And-Run Driver

June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 12:20 AM EDT

By John Borsa
By Jaclyn Asztalos

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June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 12:20 AM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. ( WKBW ) It was a devastating scene on Hyde Park Blvd. in Niagara Falls after a mother and son were hit by a car Monday night. Now that mother, who died at ECMC on Tuesday, is being called a hero by her family.

"She pushed her son out of the way, and took the full impact so she could save her son," the mother of victim Dana Rivers told Eyewitness News.

Nicole Rodriguez, 26, and her son Christopher Pelfrey, 7, were struck by a vehicle around 10 p.m. Authorities said the driver fled the scene, leaving the mother and son lying helpless on the ground.

"She was walking across the street. I don't know where the car came from, but witnesses say she pushed her son out of the way of the car," Rivers said.

The boy was rushed to Women and Children's Hospital with minor scrapes and bruises and was released to his father on Tuesday evening, while Rodriguez was brought to ECMC, suffering life-threatening injuries.

"My daughter was a wonderful mother. She cared a lot about her kids, both her kids. She has one child that is in the hospital seven-years-old and she has a little two-year-old daughter," Rivers said.

Now, those who live and work nearby, including Willy Emmons, said something must to be done. Emmons said the street is dangerous especially at the bottom of the hill where the tragedy happened.

"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 can't get their cars into the intersection," Emmons said.

Meanwhile, Rivers said her grandson is recovering, requesting one special person.

"He's asking for his mommy, " Rivers said.

She had this to say to her daughter.

"Me and your father both pray for you and the kids. We love you both," Rivers said.

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 information call the Niagara Falls Police Traffic Division at 286-4563.