Woman goes online to search for hit-and-run driver in Davidson County

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David Rolfe/Journal

It’s a cliché, of course, but the night that some idiot barreled into Nichole Gordon’s new car and took off is one that she won’t soon forget.

“All I saw was headlights,” the 30-year-old told the Winston-Salem Journal. “The truck pulled up and hit the side of my car. It used me as a bumper car. It glanced off and the guy kept going. He never even put his brakes on.”

The hit-and-run crash caused thousands in damage and left a trail of unexpected (and unwanted) hassles — all because some coward didn’t have the guts and common decency to own up to a mistake.

Here’s the thing, though. Because Gordon’s not one to just throw up her hands and give up, a social media campaign is producing leads and tips from unexpected sources.

And it just might be enough to see that a small measure of justice gets meted out after all.

Emblem in the road

The official version of events, a report prepared by the N.C. Highway Patrol, is about as sterile and bland as it gets.

“Vehicle 1 was making a right turn from NC-150 onto SR-3011 when it crossed left of center and struck Vehicle 2,” wrote Trooper Terry Gillispie.

“Vehicle 2 was coming to a stop on SR-3011 in the left turn lane. After impact Vehicle 1 failed to stop and was last seen traveling south on Friedberg Church Road. Vehicle 1 was described as a burgundy, two tone Ford Ranger pick-up truck.”

In plain English, that means Gordon was sitting in the left lane on Friedberg Church waiting to turn on Peters Creek Parkway when an old piece of junk nailed her.

Nobody was hurt, thank God, but the headaches were just beginning.

A communications snafu sent the trooper to the wrong location, and it took almost two hours to straighten out. Gordon was alert, though, and paying attention to details.

“I saw the burgundy back of the truck and a two-tone tailgate,” she said, “that and square headlights.”

And she managed to find (and pick up) a Ford Ranger emblem from the road. “The trooper has that,” she said.

She managed to get her car, a 2013 Mazda 3, back to her house a few miles down the road, where it still sits. She estimates the damage will cost more than $5,000 to fix.

Gordon also had to figure out how to get back and forth to work. A rental is expensive, and another car is out of the question.

“For right now, I’m carpooling with my dad,” she said. “Fortunately he works near me.”

Help from unlikely source

Trying to find the one crappy Ford Ranger that hit Gordon’s car won’t be an easy task. In this instance, though, Gordon is getting a boost from social media and old-fashioned flyers which with she and her mother blanketed the area.

“From the amount of damage on my daughter’s car, and the amount of glass, he/she HAS TO HAVE SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE ON THE LEFT FRONT/HOOD AREA OF THE TRUCK,” wrote Susan Beane Gordon, Nichole’s mother.

Several tips have resulted, including one this week from a man who, having seen posts on Facebook, followed a truck that fit the description and took a photograph of its license plate. Another came from an older lady who had seen one of the flyers.

No word yet on whether any of the tips have been helpful, but troopers say they will check into them.

“We’ll use any type of tool we can get and if the public is looking and providing us information, that helps,” said Sgt. Robert Abernathy, a patrol supervisor who works in Davidson County. “We’ll certainly take a look at whatever is provided to us.”

The willingness of total strangers to try and help goes a long way toward restoring Gordon’s belief in the basic decency of people that had been damaged by the act of a hit-and-run driver.

“We’ve been getting a lot of support from the community,” Gordon said. “Two thousand people took the time to share that and I get all kinds of people coming up and asking me ‘Did they find the guy who hit you yet?’

“It’s pretty amazing. It’s enough to where a small part of me thinks he might actually get caught.”

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