In hindsight, 21-year-old Danielle Lovett wishes she hadn't said it was OK for witnesses to leave the scene of an accident she was involved in Sunday night.
It turns out that after the witnesses left, so did the driver of the other car -- flat tire, damaged muffler and all.
Lovett's 1999 Buick was totaled.
Even though Lovett's insurance is giving her $2,100 toward a replacement, she still has to pay a $500 deductible.
"I'd just like to find him so he can pay me back the $500," Lovett said.
She describes the driver as a white male in his late 40s or early 50s. She believes he was driving a Pontiac Aztec or similarly styled car.
The driver's side rear suffered some damage, she said. The man drove off with a flat tire and the noise from his muffler made Lovett think his exhaust system was damaged in the accident.
Even though the Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident, Lovett has tried herself to find the driver, alerting area mechanics and body shops to the damage.
A Bergen resident, Lovett said she was heading home from Batavia at 11 p.m., Sunday, on Route 33 in Stafford when a car coming off of Prole Road failed to yield at a stop sign.
She was unable to brake in time and struck the rear of the car.
Lovett wasn't hurt, but she knew right away her car was majorly damaged.
She said when she got out of the car, the other driver approached her and asked if she was OK. She was, and he said, "OK, so I can leave now?"
"No," she said. "We need to do this the right way."
She called 9-1-1 and when she got off the phone, the man said, "OK, so I can leave now?"
Lovett insisted he stay and suggested they exchange information. He said he would go to his car and get his documents and she searched her glove box for a pen. When she looked up, the man was getting his car and leaving.
Lovett said the man stumbled toward her after he got out of his car and had slurred speech. At first, she figured he was just as shaken up as she was, but after awhile, she realized it was more than just after-accident shock.
"That's when I thought, 'Oh, my God, he's drunk,'" she said. "He's totally wasted."
There was at least one witness to the accident, Lovett believes, and other people who may have seen the hit-and-run car. She's hoping somebody will be able to come forward with more information to help find the driver.
UPDATE: A possible suspect vehicle has been identified. About 20 minutes after this post appeared, Lovett received a call from a person who read the story suggested a car matching the description was parked at a local repair shop. I happened by while Danielle was checking out the vehicle. She said the car sure looked like the one from the accident and the paint transfer, she said, matched the color of her vehicle. The deputy investigating the accident, Howard Carlson, doesn't come on duty until 11 p.m. and Lovett was told to call back then.