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Driver charged with DUI after girl hit

Published March 9, 2007


TAMPA - Edger A. Hilton, 44, had already racked up seven speeding tickets in 18 years. He'd been cited for ignoring a traffic device, driving on a suspended license and driving with no insurance. His most recent conviction was just last week.

Then, at 6:51 a.m. Thursday, deputies say Hilton drove intoxicated, ran a red light and hit a little girl at a school cross walk.

The girl, 9-year-old Maryam El-Noursi, was treated in the emergency room at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and was expected to survive.

Hilton of 15505 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. was charged with driving under the influence with personal injury and driving with a license that expired more than a year ago, records show. He was released on $750 bail.

Nearly a dozen people under age 20 have died in Hillsborough County crashes in recent months.

Hilton told deputies he took three oxycodone pills at 10 p.m. the night before. At the scene, his eyes watered and his speech was slurred, investigators said. He leaned against his car to stand. Interviewing him was difficult because he kept falling asleep, deputies said.

The Sheriff's Office drew blood to test for alcohol but did not immediately have results.

Hilton's driving problems date back at least to 1989 when he was cited for driving with a suspended license and driving 70 mph in a 55 zone, record show. It's unclear why his license was suspended at the time.

On March 2, he was again convicted for speeding.

While deputies spoke with Hilton, emergency crews flew Maryam to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.

Her grandmother, Hilda Ferrer, 63, said the girl had bruises all over her body. Doctors planned to keep her for two days to be sure she didn't have internal bleeding, Ferrer said.

Maryam lives with her mother, her grandmother and her two siblings at the Canterbury Lane Apartments. She walks to Mort Elementary School.

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 226-3373.

A look back

Crashes involving young people have made news in recent months. But rarely have they led to criminal charges.

Oct. 8: Tyler Clark, 17, hits an unmarked median in Brandon with his Jeep Sahara and veers off the road into a tree. Seven teen passengers are hurt. Clark dies in the crash.

Oct. 9: Ismelys Regalado, 10, is killed when her family's car is hit by a driver in Ruskin. Deputies arrested the driver, 24-year-old Andy Claudio, on Thursday.

Oct. 13: A car flies off a curve in Ruskin and hits a tree, killing passenger Callie Lynn Roberts, 16. The crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed against the driver, 16-year-old Zachary Carroll.

Oct. 18: A newly licensed 16-year-old driving his father's truck clips Fredrick Gardner's bike along Bullfrog Creek in Gibsonton. Gardner, 15, is killed. The driver, 16-year-old Andrew Leight, was cited for following too closely and speeding. No criminal charges were filed.

Dec. 4: Camden White, 15, dies after being struck by a driver while crossing a street near Brandon High School. The driver, substitute teacher Kami Bell, 22, was cited for failure to use due care. No criminal charges were filed.

Feb. 11: Four people - including 19-year-olds Ashley Blagburn, Richard Forbes and Jennifer Sawyer - die when they car they're riding in is hit by a pickup truck driver on U.S. 301 in Thonotosassa. Troopers said pickup driver Danny S. Lamb Jr., 33, crashed into the car while passing vehicles. Lamb died in the crash.

March 5: Yachira M. Caraballo-Aguilar, 17, lost control of a Ford Explorer on her way to Tampa Bay Technical High School. The crash killed Caraballo's passenger, Monica, 16. The crash remains under investigation.

[Last modified March 9, 2007, 01:52:02]

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