Plano Police Searching for Semi-Driver in Hit & Run That Claimed Young Mother's Life

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Plano Police need the public’s help in finding the driver of a semi-truck accused of causing the death of a young mother in a hit-and-run crash.

Leah Alexis Daniels of McKinney died in the crash after being struck by several vehicles, according to police. All but one of the drivers involved stopped.

The crash brought all of U.S. 75 to a standstill at about 9:30 Monday night. Right now, police don’t have photographs or video of the suspect’s vehicle, so they are urging drivers to think back to that night.

Officer Andrae Smith, spokesman for the Plano Police Department, described the tragic scene as "chaotic."

“Of all of the witnesses who saw what they saw, it’s going to be traumatic for the days, weeks and years to come. But we want to bring some resolution to this family,” he said.

Daniel, 29, leaves behind a 5-year-old son and a heartbroken mother who is pleading for witnesses to come forward.

“Even for the person responsible, please come forward, and I forgive you,” said Karen Hoffman through tears. “I forgive you. Just come forward.”

Hoffman says her daughter, the third of eight children, was strong and very bright.

“She loved her son,” she said. “Her and her son look a lot alike and they have a lot of the same personality.”

The crash happened along the southbound lanes of U.S. 75 at Legacy Drive, according to PPD.

Daniels’ car had stalled in the second lane to the right. She had her hazard lights on, according to police, when she was rear-ended by a car.

The occupants of that car managed to run to safety.

Police say that when the young mother tried to run out through her passenger door, the driver of a semi-truck without a trailer attached hit Daniels. The impact sent the 29-year-old into traffic, where she was hit by another car.

The occupants of that car also stopped, while the driver of the semi-cab did not.

“Right now, we’re looking for an older model Peterbilt tractor,” said Smith. “It may have damage on the front left quarter panel which means the driver’s side.”

Detectives with PPD’s traffic unit describe the semi as a ‘bob-tail’ Peterbilt 389 semi-truck.

“That’s our plea [to the driver of the semi], we want to hear your version of events,” said Smith.

Police are also asking drivers who were in the area after the crash to think back and remember if they saw a semi without a trailer driving in an odd fashion.

“Was there something about the driving behavior that was different after the incident took place and that gives us some more insight as to the mental state of the driver?” asked Smith.

Hoffman believes the suspect may have told someone about what happened.

“I think that person was so afraid, they probably knew they killed her, and they just kept going,” she said. “It had to be terrible to hit a human body and see it go 80 feet forward. It had to be and I’m hoping and praying that my daughter did pass instantly, that she didn’t suffer gasping for breath.”

Hoffman is being represented by attorney Ryan Loya who sent NBC 5 the following statement.

"The Kwok Daniel Law Firm is offering $25,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver of the Peterbilt Truck that struck Ms. Daniels on Highway 75."

"We need the public's help finding the person responsible for the death of Ms. Daniels. This driver knew that they struck a human being on Highway 75 and made the choice to flee the scene anyway. Ms. Daniels' family is asking that anybody with information such as the color of the truck, license plate, or TxDOT number reach out to my office at 713-773-3380 or by email at"

Anyone with information on this hit-and-run is urged to call the Plano Police Traffic Tip Line at 972-941-5483.

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