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Exclusive: 71-Year-Old Victim Of Kearny Hit-And-Run Speaks To CBS2

KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A grandmother who planned to host Thanksgiving for her family will now spend the holiday in the hospital after a hit-and-run in Kearney, New Jersey.

Sylvia Dumschat was walking her dog when a car hit her and threw her into the air at Grand Place and Seeley Avenue. CBS2's Lisa Rozner was invited into Dumschat's hospital room for an exclusive interview.

Dumschat's ankle is being held together by pins. She has several broken bones and her skull is so severely fractured that she can barely eat.

Her life changed in an instant Friday. The 71-year-old grandmother was walking her dog just blocks from her Kearny home.

"We walked across the street because it was safe, and then all of a sudden I got hit from behind," Kearny said.

Kearny police said it happened around 6:15 p.m. Friday, as Dumschat was crossing Seeley Avenue. She lost consciousness, and when she came to, she was surrounded by first responders.

"I remember waking up and saying, 'Where's my dog?'" Dumschat said. "They said, 'What's her name?' I said Maggie."

Maggie was here the whole time. Dumschat's daughter believes the border collie's barking alerted neighbors to call 911.

Dumschat was rushed to the trauma unit at University Hospital in Newark.

But five days later, the driver is still out there.

Police on Wednesday were reviewing surveillance video for clues, but it was not confirmed whether a sport-utility with its lights off that appears in the video was the one involved.

The family on Wednesday was pleading for the driver to come forward.

"This was a horrible, horrible thing for somebody to hit my mother; hit anyone and leave them there for dead -- and that's basically what happened," said Dumschat's daughter, Denine Ellis.

Thanksgiving is Dumschat's favorite holiday. She was brought to tears at the thought of not being home this year.

Instead, her family will be with her at the hospital.

"You hurt me," Dumschat said. "I was a vibrant 71 year old woman that could walk my dog for three miles every day, and now I can't walk at all -- and it's going to be a long, painful recovery."

Dumschat told CBS2's Rozner from her hospital bed that she is offering a $500 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

If you know anything, contact Kearny police at (201) 998-1313.

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