Updated:TARENTUM, Pa. —
Tammy Roberts lost her leg in a hit-and-run accident in Tarentum last February, but she refuses to feel sorry for herself.
"I cry and I stomp my feet. But then I wipe my tears off and say, 'Knock it off Tammy. Knock it off.' I just know things are going to get better and I'm going to get tougher," Roberts said.
The East Deer woman said she and her boyfriend Pete Gearhart had just had dinner at the Creighton Hotel and were walking home when the unthinkable happened.
Police said a man driving a purple Mustang was speeding along Freeport Road, hit Roberts and pinned her to some stairs of a building.
"I looked down at my leg that night and I seen I lost it already. It was awful," Roberts said.
Gearhart said he and another stranger who witnessed the accident immediately jumped into action.
"I look up and this young man had already had his belt off and around her leg. I looked at him and I said, 'Do you know what you're doing?' He said, 'Yes sir. I'm an ex-Marine," said Gearhart.
"I'm very grateful for that young man. He and Pete are my heroes," Robert said.
At the hospital, Gearhart said he was told by doctors that Roberts' leg would have to be amputated.
"That was the biggest decision I ever made in my life, to sign that paper," said Gearhart.
To make the situation worse, police said the driver who hit Roberts left the scene.
"I remember the first three digits of the license plate: HJ7. I chased him until he made the turn up the other alleyway," Gearhart said.
Investigators said they eventually made an arrest in the case, but the man hasn't shown up for court hearings.
"I don't understand how he can be out there running around. You know, what if he would have hit a little kid?" Roberts said.
After enduring more than a dozen surgeries Roberts said she now just hopes she can put the incident behind her and return to her job at a nursing home.
"I don't know if I'm going to be able to do that anymore. He took that. He took my life away from me," Roberts said.
Family and friends have set up a fund to help Roberts pay for her medical costs. Anyone interested in making donations can do so through Citizen's Bank at the New Kensington Giant Eagle.