SPECIAL REPORT: #Justice for Arie Phillips - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: #Justice for Arie Phillips

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's been 10 months since a teen girl was killed following a tragic hit-and-run accident in Columbus.

Last Easter, Arie Phillips was in town visiting family and friends when the unthinkable happened.

The case still remains unsolved, and Arie's killer is still out there. In this special report, we take an in-depth look at the investigation.

Arie, a vibrant teen from Fayetteville, NC, had a captivating smile.

"You could never forget that smile," said her uncle Deandrea Biggers.

Her uncle says Arie loved life to the fullest. She was a cheerleader and soccer player, and had the smarts to go along with it as a National Junior Honor Society member.

But Arie's dreams of one day running for president of the United States all came to a screeching halt Easter Sunday 2016.

Around 9:30 that night, the teen within a split second changed her mind about not going with her brother and decided to walk with him to a nearby Wendy’s.

Arie was hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk within minutes of leaving the apartments on Flat Rock Road in Columbus where the two siblings and their mother were visiting friends for the holiday weekend.

The driver, believed to be in a red or dark-colored truck as seen in surveillance video, never stopped.

Columbus police officers say the driver of that crimson or burgundy pickup truck that hit Arie left the roadway and jumped the curb, striking Arie and leaving her lifeless body in the grassy area on Flat Rock Road.

What's even more shocking is that police say the driver wasn't going fast or erratically, but rather slowly, and appeared to be distracted.

Arie's brother called his mom, and she rushed out of the apartment to her daughter's aid.

Arie's dad was miles away in California and vividly remembers turning on his phone to see a load of messages, missed calls, texts and Facebook posts about what had happened to his beloved Arie.

Master Sergeant David Phillips is now in Iraq on military duty and spoke to us via Skype.

"I just felt a sickness to my stomach when I heard it," David said.

For three days Arie was in a coma, but died from her injuries. Her family and friends remembered the teen with a vigil at the scene, her named etched in candles and balloons released in the air.

“My main concern was my youngest son who had to deal with it in front of his face,” David said. “That and you in conjunction with hoping the person would give himself up.”

But the person who took Arie's life is still running free.

Corporal Rosalyn Hall, the department's only hit-and-run investigator, says Corporal House conducted 20 interviews and checked out 20 vehicles as far north as Newnan, GA and southward to Eufaula, AL.

Hall says CPD's motor squad department will not rest until the killer is caught.

"As you can see, this is Arie's case. these are Arie's videos,” Hall said. “We're still working. We talk about this case if not every day, every other day. It never leaves us."

The family of Arie is hoping someone will see this sign they've posted which states “Justice for Arie.”

They're even offering a reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

"We're just trying to bring closure to the circumstances just happened and if anybody know anything about it, we will gladly accept information,” said Ralph Johnson.

"Someone knows what happened that night, it they've just put it to the back of their mind,” Deandrea said.

Closure for Arie's family means an arrest in the case, especially for her mom, brothers and dad, who is continuing to help protect his country despite the deep wounds that will stick with him forever with the loss of Arie.

David says the reward is now at $8,000 for information leading to an arrest. If you know anything about this case, you're asked to call CPD's hit and run division at706-225-4040.

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