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    Hit-and-run survivor forgives driver one year later

    Zion McMillan was hit by a car on his way to the school bus and left for dead. Now he’s finding closure through sports.

    HAINES CITY, Fla. — One year ago, Zion McMillan, 11 years old at the time, was walking around on crutches after he was hit by a car on his way to the school bus. The driver did not stop. Zion was taken to the hospital and survived but was left unsure whether he’d ever play sports again. 

    Now 12 years old, he’s finished a season of football and is taking on a new sport. 

    Zion and his father, Jarvis Alston, spoke to 10 Tampa Bay on the basketball court, where the family is finding closure.

    “He’s still coming back home for a very serious injury. The ‘coach’ me, you know, I want to push him, but then the ‘dad’ and we have to realize that, you know, I have to kind of take it step by step because he’s not where he once was before,” Alston said.    

    Jarvis has been by his son’s side and watched him push his limits and write his own destiny.

    “Zion had got hit by a car and was left on the side of the road a year ago. Life was so crazy when we first spoke. I’m just automatically thinking the worst when I get the call, because I’m like, ‘Dang, what could have happened for this person to leave a kid on the side of the road,'” Alston said.

    Zion still doesn’t remember the crash. He said his last memory is walking with his friend and then waking up in the hospital.

    Ring doorbell video showed Zion leaving for school last November. Minutes later, his bus stop would be the scene of a hit-and-run crash.

    Deputies found the driver, 66-year-old Pierre Jacinthe, hours later at his home. He was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injuries and tampering with evidence. 

    Jacinthe was sentenced to 5 months in jail and 5 years probation for the crash on Nov. 15, 2023, a year to the day after the crash. Zion and his family were present at the sentencing.

    “I said I would like to forgive him for it because I know that in the Bible, it says you have to forgive,” McMillan said. 

    Jacinthe apologized to Zion’s parents in court, saying he had panicked once he’d realized he’d hit a kid. 

    “It was a heartfelt moment to actually hear Zion say to the guy standing there in court that he forgave him. I simply only had one question and my question was ‘Why? Why didn’t you stop?’ We had a chance to get that answer,” Alston said.

    They finally have closure a year later, and they are moving forward one step at a time.

    “It’s over with, you know. God spared his life, and he’s still here with us,” Alston said.


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