Hit-and-run reports on the rise in 2 counties, city

Skylar Marion's father speaks with ABC2

Mountain Road is the only way in and out of Michael Marion's part of Pasadena, trapped by the haunting memory of his son—held hostage by the crime that took his life.

"It hurts, it hurts,” Marion said. “Sometimes I just want to close my eyes when I go by.  That way maybe it's not there, but it's there and every day we go by it, my boys see it every day, their bus goes by it every day."

It is just around the bend from the family's home where Skylar Marion was struck and killed last April as he was walking along Mountain Road with his friend, the driver took off that night and still has not been found.

See also: Maryland hit-and-run survivors share stories of recovery

Three seasons later, a memorial still marks the spot as if a tragic mile marker Michael and his two other sons have to pass every day.

"Every day it gets harder and harder and harder,” Marion said. “A lot of people it gets easier but when you have the person out there that turn around and took my son's life and they're still out there, that I think he is or they are ... you can't let it end."

And so Michael Marion doesn't.

Part of fighting is fixing. Marion restores classic cars. The profits of the most recent sale helping to bump up the reward money for a tip leading to the arrest of the hit and run driver.

The new total of $20,000 is handwritten on the homemade flyer attached to the back of his work truck.

It is a good payout for anything or anyone that can help Anne Arundel County Police bring in that late 90s model Ford Expedition and the driver that left Skylar for dead.

"The longer it goes, the more challenging it is but with the Marion case we are out there each and every day tracking down leads, we got a few leads last week and we are going out and checking them out,” Lt. David Ennis, commander of the Anne Arundel County Traffic Safety Section, said.

The Marion story is a high profile one, but his evidence -- lot of mangled steel and shattered glass -- tells many more.

Hit and runs pose challenges for law enforcement.

Evidence left at the scene can point to a range of makes and models, databases or legitimate auto body shops can lead to suspicious repairs, but in almost all cases, it is the tip or the driver themselves that close the case.

"The challenge is there is somebody out there that knows what happened, we need them to do the right thing and to come forward," said Ennis.

But Skylar’s father knows the odds shrink with each passing day.

"I mean one day he has got to meet his maker, him or her and then they'll be judged, but [will they find him] in our life time ... I don't know.  You got all these other hit and runs, I'm not by myself, " Marion said.

ABC2 News studied the available data of hit and runs for most of our viewing area.

According to the Maryland State Police, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties along with Baltimore City show an overall increase from 2010 through 2012 of hit and runs involving personal injury or death.

INFO-GRAPHIC: Maryland hit-and-run reports by numbers

Skylar is counted in the 2013 stats, which have yet to be finalized by the state. It’s an open case that signs along just about any road in the area, reminds drivers needs closing.

"It's a tragic situation that has just rocked our community," said Maryland Sen. Bryan Simonaire.

The Republican lawmaker from Anne Arundel County is reminded of Skylar’s death every day as he passes a well-placed sign along Route 100.

It is partly the motivation behind a bill he introduced during this legislative session, a bill getting tough on hit and runs and dedicated to the 15 year old victim.

"The message we are trying to put out there is that you never, ever leave the scene of a crime and not only increasing the penalty but also requiring Drivers Ed to include the teaching of hit and run penalties and everything that is associated with that," Simonaire said.

Simonaire's bill bumps the penalty from 10 years in prison to 15 as well as a mandatory education component, a proposed bill that so far has seen little opposition.

“I am very optimistic,” Simonarie said of the bill’s chance at passage. “This is a very real situation. It affects every single county, every district and I think people are in support of it and I just need to move it through the legislative process.         

And when it does get to a hearing, Michael Marion will be in Annapolis to testify, telling the story of his son Skylar while wearing the pendant full of his ashes around his neck and close to his heart.

"I don't want no one to go through what we went through, what we're going through.  What we are going through is pure hell.  Every day. My kids, me, everything and every day you live it alright, it's gotta stop."

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