Investigation Into Fatal Hit And Run Continues

June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, N.Y. (WKBW) - Nicole Rodriguez, 26, died in a hit-and-run crash. Now, she is being called a hero.

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

Rodriguez and her seven-year-old son were crossing Hyde Park Boulevard in Niagara Falls when they were struck, Monday night. The driver fled the scene.

"I can't imagine what was in the driver's mind when he ran over a mother and child, and then to leave the scene," Niagara Falls Police Captain Salvatore Pino said.

Now, Pino said they're closer to finding the person behind the wheel and the passenger who they believe may have also been in the car.

"We've interviewed witnesses. Many businesses have video cameras and we viewed quite a few of those. So far, we think we have a grainy photograph of the car," Pino said.

Pino said that photo was not ready to be released to the public, but they are describing the vehicle as an older model, maroon in color. They also said it may have front-end damage. They said have one more telling piece of evidence.

"It's actually plastic that we found at the scene. We will put it together, and once we get it into a piece we will know if it's a GM, Ford, or foreign car and it's model," Pino said.

Unfortunately, Captain Pino said hit and run crashes are becoming all too common. Since the first of the year, Niagara Falls has had three hit and runs that have lead to fatal or near fatal outcomes.

"I think somewhere down the road I think the government is going to make leaving the scene of a crash much more of a crime because it's becoming epidemic, in my opinion," Pino said.

Pino is encouraging the driver to come forward. They are also asking the public to call with any information that would help solve this case.

Contact the Niagara Falls Police Traffic Division at 286-4563.