READING, Pa. - Friends and neighbors of a three year-old girl killed in a Reading hit-and-run are rallying behind the girl's family. Saturday evening, a fundraiser and candlelight vigil raised money for Ja-Lexy Bobet's funeral. Meantime, authorities said the accused driver may have additional charges.
"I'm very grateful," said the victim's mother, Gabriella Roman. "My family and I appreciate everything that everybody is doing."
The late-night vigil capped off a night of fundraisers for Bobet's family. The three year-old died Thursday night, after a hit-and-run driver ran a stop sign and hit her on Cotton Street in Reading.
Emotions ran high as the alleged driver, 18 year-old Justin Taylor, was charged with homicide by vehicle. Police said surveillance video shows him driving away, without a license, from the scene.
In a Friday interview, Taylor's cousin said it was a terrible accident.
"He panicked, he freaked out," said Joshua Coulter. "He's 18; what are you going to do? He just went through a tragic moment in a split second."
Bobet's death quickly mobilized the community, who opened their hearts and their wallets.
"We have garbage bags full of money to donate toward the funeral and the burial of the baby," said a family friend organizing the fundraiser.
It's difficult to put into words how a personal tragedy like this can bring people together in unimaginable ways -- a small comfort for a family who needs all the help it can get right now.
"Thankful for everything," said Wilton Bobet, the victim's father. "I want to thank everybody for this."
Police said the alleged driver may face additional charges.
Allentown, PA 18102