Reporting Tony Lopez
CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – For the first time since an accused hit-and-run driver killed her dogs and nearly killed her boyfriend a week ago, a Carmichael woman made public comments on Monday.
Released from the hospital on Monday, Gemily West didn’t want to go in front of the CBS13′s camera, but she did want to express her gratitude that there’s been an arrest in the case.
Her injuries include a badly mangled leg after the alleged driver, Paul Walden, slammed into her, boyfriend Harison Long-Randall and her four Australian cattle show dogs on July 16.
“I have a hard time looking at it,” she said of her leg. “I’m like, ‘God, that’s my leg, that looks so awful.’”
The wounds are as fresh as the memories of her nightmare.
“I just started screaming as loud as I could for help,” she recalled.
West, 23, clings to a precious reminder of four lives taken from her in the blink of an eye, a small dog stuffed animal.
“It’s sad losing them all, very, very sad because they were our family,” she said.
She called her prized dogs her “babies.” They died instantly on a Carmichael intersection as the hit-and-run driver slammed into Gemily and Harison, 21, as they were walking the dogs. Walden was allegedly going as fast as 80 mph through the residential area before hitting them.
“Yeah, I pretty much just knew in my head it had to be some kind of scumbag to just hit us that fast and drive off,” she said.
But as Gemily gets set to face life’s new challenges, she’d rather not face our cameras, fearing it could trigger an emotional breakdown.
Her heart’s been broken enough, but her spirit has been bolstered by her boyfriend’s actions.
“He’s my hero,” she said.
Harison saved her life by pushing her out of the way, his leg severed as he was hit.
“It was just a really traumatic experience,” she said. “Very traumatic.”
But the gory details now take a backseat to a grateful heart, from police, to investigators, to first responders and neighbors.
“I just want to say thank you,” she said. “I’ll forever appreciate it.”
She’s also thankful a suspect is behind bars.
“I basically broke down in tears of joy because I had lost hope that he would never be found,” she said.
She’d now like him and everyone else to know, she and Hari are still standing.
“Because we’re not gonna stay down,” she said. “We won’t let this ruin our lives forever.”