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Hit and run

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Cyntia Diaz and Indhira Huaman walked along Highway 93 during the early morning of Dec. 27 toward Whitefish’s Grouse Mountain Lodge, where the two Peruvian students had jobs for the winter.

Just before they got to work, a car traveling east toward Whitefish swerved and struck Diaz, sending her through the air, past Huaman and into the ditch.

Huaman says she ran to Diaz, who was in shock, and screamed for help. The car never stopped.

Diaz spent two weeks at North Valley Hospital with her right femur broken in three places. After her hospital stay, Grouse Mountain Lodge put her up in a handicapped accessible room. She expects it will take three months until she can walk normally.

“When I come here, I come for work,” Diaz told the Independent. But because she can’t walk now, Diaz can no longer labor as a housekeeper.

“So I just have to return to my country,” she says.

Diaz’ doctor has advised her to wait another two weeks before traveling. After that, she will return to Peru.

She says Hospitality & Catering Management Services (HCMS), the company that Grouse Mountain contracts for her work, paid her for her first two weeks on the job, plus the two weeks she was in the hospital. Another company, Cenet, which served as a middleman between the company that hired her in Peru and HCMS, has insurance that covered her hospital stay.

But she’s out $2,000 that she says she paid to Atanea, the company that recruited her
from Peru to work in the United States.

The Independent could not reach Atanea for comment.

For now, it appears the hit-and-run driver has escaped justice.

“We have nothing,” says Whitefish Police Lieutenant Bridger Kelch. Huaman could offer only a vague description of the suspect vehicle—a gray, newer model, four-door sedan.

But Kelch says police haven’t given up yet, and hope that damage to the vehicle, which would be on the front right passenger side, may eventually link them to the driver. He also notes Grouse Mountain has put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver.

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