Panola County teen struck by hit-and-run driver clings to life

PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. — Jadarius Chapman is in a hospital bed with broken bones and damages to his kidney, liver, and spleen while his family sits at his bedside praying for a miracle.

When they first took the 15-year-old to the hospital he was opening his eyes. He wasn't responding much. Now they have him under medication.

Investigators say 36-year-old James Sanford hit the teen on Victory Road just before midnight Monday and stopped — but instead of helping the boy, he hopped back in his car and took off.

"He exited his vehicle and saw the individual on the ground and panicked for whatever reason and left the scene," investigator Terry Smith said.

According to investigators the person in the car with Sanford went home and told his girlfriend about the accident. That girlfriend then came back to the scene, called 911 and waited with the teenager until help arrived.

Smith says he pulled up on scene as the teenager was being rushed away but didn't rest until he tracked down and arrested Sanford.

"He did in fact admit that he had struck this person."

Chapman's mom wants to make sure there are consequences and it doesn't happen to anyone else.

"I want justice but I am worried about my son right now and I want something done because that could have been anybody's child."

The family is keeping the faith that despite how bad it looks, the teenager will pull through.

"That's all we can do is just pray and let God handle it. Ain't nothing else we can do and pray it doesn't happen to anyone else."

Sanford was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in bodily harm. He was also charged for no insurance and no drivers license.