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Man injured in apartment hit-and-run describes tragedy, mourns fiancée

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:16 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A car crashes into a couple’s bedroom in the middle of the night, leaving one woman dead and a man critically injured.

December 4 was a night Luis Rodriguez will likely never forget. With his 11-year-old son fast asleep in his own room, he and his fiancée, Kelley Prince, turned in for the night on Friday at around 9 p.m. Just hours later, Rodriguez’s life would change forever.

“It was just a loud crash. I was startled. I didn’t know what was going on, what sounded like an explosion or what it was,” said Rodriguez.

At around 2:54 a.m., a car slammed into their apartment at Hawthorne Commons just before three that morning, jolting the couple awake to find their home in shambles. Rodriguez says it entered through the living room before crashing into the bedroom and colliding with Prince’s side of the bed.

“She was yelling and screaming, asking for her inhaler. Of course, with everything obliterated in the bedroom, I couldn’t find it.”

He says the driver offered a brief apology to the couple before backing up and fleeing the scene.

“I heard him say ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,’ and then he took off,” said Rodriguez. “I was just in total shock. I couldn’t believe any of this was happening. I thought it was just a bad dream, but it wasn’t.”

Fighting through the pain of a dislocated shoulder. he did everything he could to help his fiancée.

“One of the firefighters had come through the apartment and was trying to knock down the door. I had to push some furniture out of the way to get to the door. Then, I turned to Kelley and said, ‘We’re going to get through this. Help is here,’ and I said, ‘I love you, Kelley.’ That was the last I spoke with her.”

Prince died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Now, Rodriguez tries to heal from both the physical and emotional wounds he sustained that night with support from Prince’s family in South Carolina.

“We’re all banding together, trying to help each other cope with this senseless tragedy,” said Rodriguez.

The man facing charges for that hit and run made his first appearance in court yesterday. He’s in jail under a $100,000 bond.

Police say the case is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call WPD at 910-343-3609 or send a message to 847411 using the keyword WPDNC. You can also use the Tip 411 app.

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