Lincoln woman arrested for hit and run had previous DUI arrest

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:42 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Police arrested the driver of a hit and run accident caught on camera.

Surveillance video shows a vehicle hitting a woman who was lighting fireworks in the street near NW 6th Street and Dawes Avenue on Saturday night. The 21-year-old victim, Emilia Graham, has a broken collar bone, a concussion, as well as dozens of scrapes and bruises that cover her body. The injuries to her face needed to be glued shut.

After the video went viral, Isabel Knapp-Cuevas, 22, contacted police and said that she may have been involved. Police conducted several interviews and analyzed digital evidence to verify it was her vehicle and she was the driver. Police went to Knapp-Cuevas’ house Monday afternoon and found a black 2011 Chevrolet Impala that had a flat tire and a missing passenger side rear view mirror as well as other damage to the passenger side. Police said a rear-view mirror was found at the accident site.

Isabel Knapp-Cuevas
Isabel Knapp-Cuevas(Lincoln Police)

Knapp-Cuevas said she was unaware she struck a pedestrian and instead thought she ran over an artillery shell. She said the smoky air conditions from the fireworks made it hard to see.

Knapp-Cuevas was arrested Thursday for leaving the scene of an injury accident, property damage, no vehicle registration, stop sign violation and driving under license revocation.

She wasn’t supposed to be behind the wheel because of a DUI she received on May 26. According to a court document, police pulled her over around 2:48 a.m. on Centennial Mall between O and N Streets. Her blood alcohol level was 0.143 percent.

She failed to appear to her court appearance on June 29 and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She appeared in court on July 5 and 6 and released on $1,500 bond. Her next court date for the DUI is August 10.

Knapp-Cuevas appeared in court Thursday afternoon for leaving the scene of an injury accident and bond was set at $10,000.

A neighbor’s security camera captured the crash, which happened right before 11 p.m. on July 3 during an annual party that Graham hosted. After the impact, Graham was struck, and the vehicle that hit her took off after striking a vehicle parked on the side of the road.

Graham told 10/11 she now needs constant help and attention from friends and loved ones. Even simple tasks like getting off the couch and walking outside require at least one person’s assistance.

“My partner has had to get me out of bed, in bed, sit down, use the restroom, shower, feed me,” Graham said. “I can’t really lift anything up, I can’t open anything.”

Lincoln woman severely injured in hit and run still looking for answers
Lincoln woman severely injured in hit and run still looking for answers(Ellis Wiltsey)

In the July 3rd surveillance video, Graham is seen leaning down to light off a firework. Within seconds a car drives through the residential street. The direction it was traveling would also put it coming through an intersection with stop signs.

Dozens of Graham’s friends and family watched her get hit, thrown in the air, and land several feet away. Witnesses said Graham even put her hands out in front of her seconds before the car barreled into her, in an attempt to slow it down or brace for the impact.

“Did not stop,” said Adanya Hogan, a witness. “Went through the four-way stop. Went around the fountain, hit Emilia, and kept going straight. No brakes were pumped, no lights came on. They didn’t slow down, if anything they sped up after.”

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