A six-year-old schoolgirl run over by a hit-and-run driver outside her home in horrifying CCTV is “lucky to be alive”.
Helpless Michalina Eslinger was dragged crying and screaming under banned driver Ashley Evans’ car when he drove over her.
After passersby desperately lifted the vehicle off the youngster – not knowing if she was dead or alive – cruel Evans fled.
Michalina broke her pelvis, both thigh bones, her right lower leg, her collar bone and suffered horrible facial burns.
Just moments before the ordeal, she had fallen off her scooter and was lying on the ground when Evans sped around the corner.
Medics had warned her life was in danger.
However, her family say she will return to school this week just eight weeks after the crash, which happened in Splott, Cardiff, at around 7.30pm on Saturday, May 4.
Her dad Kristoph – who saw banned driver Evans speed away from the scene – said: “She has been so brave. We are so lucky she is here with us.”
A judge said it was a “miracle that she was not killed” – and described the driver as “cowardly” for fleeing.
The CCTV camera showed how she had fallen off her scooter while playing outside when Evans sped around the corner.
Michalina dragged her along the road by her legs. She was trapped under his wheels until passersby were able to lift the car off her.
But callous Evans, 28, drove off, speeding away from the scene not knowing is she would be alive or dead.
Michalina needed surgery to fit plates in her legs and stayed in the University of Wales hospital for 10 days.
Kristof, who has given up work to care for his daughter, says Michalina wakes up in the night crying and asks: “Why was that man so mean to me?”
Now Michalina is ready to return to school in her wheelchair.
Her father said: “It has been hard for Michalina to miss school because she really loves to go.
“Her legs are still very weak she can stand but only for a short time.
“In her thighs she has pins and screws and we are just waiting to see how well she recovers long term.”
Disqualified driver Evans had 37 previous offences on his criminal record including three for dangerous driving and six for driving while disqualified.
He was jailed for three years at Cardiff Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing serious injury while driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, driving while disqualified and failing to stop in the Vauxhall Astra.
Michalina’s father added: “Our anger with Ashley Evans is passing. We are only sorry that his evil decision has caused so much hurt to our family and his own.
“I still can’t understand how this happened and I cry with relief when I think about what Michalina went through and how lucky we are she survived.”
Evans was also disqualified from driving for five years.
John Warren, prosecuting, said: “Evans drove into the street and drove straight over the girl as she lay prone on the ground.
Witnesses described Evans fleeing the scene “driving fast” and “as if he wanted to get away”.
Mr Warren said: “He was thinking more about himself than the little girl he had injured. He panicked because he was a disqualified driver and fled the scene.”
Jailing him, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “You ran her over and dragged her a short distance beneath the car.
“You drove the car away. Your behaviour was cowardly and inhuman.”