“Doesn’t feel real”: Omaha family remembers daughter after fatal pedestrian hit-and-run

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Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:12 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A pedestrian hit-and-run crash on Halloween night left an Omaha woman fighting for her life in the hospital for four days before succumbing to her injuries.

“Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe because it just doesn’t feel real,” says Dale Schuman, whose daughter, 29-year-old Jerica Schuman, died Friday following an early morning crash on Tuesday.

Jerica was walking near 75th and Maple streets when she was hit by a car that then fled the scene.

“Disbelief,” Dale says. “Why anybody would do that is anybody’s guess.”

Jerica was taken to Bergan Mercy Hospital with a broken hip, broken femur, and ‘significant internal bleeding that was life-threatening,’ according to an affidavit. Thursday, Jerica died from her injuries.

Now, her family is reflecting on the life that the young mother leaves behind.

“Jerica was a fierce firecracker as we like to say in our family,” says Dillon, one of Jerica’s five brothers. “One of her greatest passions in life that she was always meant to be was a mother, and Vanessa, her 9-year-old daughter, you know that were attached at the hip,” he says.

“They were two peas in a pod, and she’s going to be quite lost without her mom for quite some time,” Dale adds.

The 1 a.m. crash after Halloween night went under the radar.

Over the police scanner following the accident, a short call for a personal injury accident was broadcast. Later, another call went out.

“Can you make a broadcast for officers to be on the lookout for a dark-colored 2015, 2016 Ford Focus involved in a hit-and-run PI,” the scanner call stated.

In the following days, there was no notification from police about any hit-and-run investigation, or about Jerica’s death.

Dale says this frustrates him, and he wants the community to know that his daughter is more than just a statistic.

“I want justice for Jerica,” he says. “And I don’t mean that from a legal standpoint, I mean that from a this is my daughter, this is her brother standpoint. This is her [daughter] standpoint. I want people to know who she was.”

According to the affidavit, the car that hit Jerica was found the next day thanks to nearby video surveillance that led police to obtain a partial license plate. The document also says pieces of the vehicle left on the roadway also helped to identify the car.

Documents say the driver of the car, a 21-year-old woman, later told police that she panicked after hitting a pedestrian and that she circled the scene in her car several times to ensure the pedestrian was getting proper care, but she never stopped or called police.

“I honestly don’t care what happens in the court systems with the girl that hit her.,” Dale says. “Her life is going to be forever changed just like our lives are forever changed, but as far as my daughter, I want her legacy to be remembered. Every person I talk to, I want them to know who she was.”

The driver was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death - a felony charge. She waived her preliminary hearing and was released on her own recognizance.

A GoFundMe page for Jerica’s funeral expenses and to help pay for her 9-year-old daughter’s education has already surpassed $23,000. Dale and Dillon say community support has been overwhelming in the best way.