Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - Daphne Cola may be gone, but her presence is still very much alive at Kermit's Mother-in-Law Lounge, a place she often visited with family and friends.

'This is the first day I have to live without her, so it's difficult for me,' said Cola's sister, Vegas Cola. 'She touched so many people that she's affecting the entire community that she's gone.'

'She's a wonderful mother, a wonderful friend, sister, daughter, aunt,' said Cola's sister, Vegas Cola. 'Whatever you can think of, she's good at it.'

Family members say Cola, 37, walked out of the lounge July 27, just like she did so many Sundays before. But this time, when she stepped off the curb, the unthinkable happened.

Business surveillance video shows an ATV speeding on Claiborne Avenue, then hitting Cola so hard, she went into a coma and never woke up.

Tuesday night, her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support.

'She's never been responsive,' said Vegas Cola. 'The decision was, 'Will Daphne come out of this if we wait five years, 10 years, 20 years?' It didn't make sense.'

Now, fatality investigators with the New Orleans police traffic division are working to identify the man behind the wheel of the ATV. There was also a female passenger.

Over a week after the hit and run, police say Crimestoppers tips are still coming in, but say it's always a challenge to find someone in hiding.

'It's just disgusting. It's really unfathomable to think that someone would leave a human being lying there without any assistance or any care,' said Anthony Micheu, commander of NOPD's traffic division.

It's illegal to drive an ATV on a city street. But police say it's an issue they continue to fight.

'It's very dangerous for everyone, especially at speeds that would be unfathomable to the public,' said Micheu.

The driver faces charges related to Cola's death.

Cola, a business and financial consultant with an MBA from UNO, leaves behind two sons, ages five and 12 years old. Loved ones fondly remember her as a beloved philanthropist who did all she could to help others, but who lost her life to someone who didn't help her.

The family has set up a fund to raise money for medical bills, funeral expenses, and Cola's sons.

You can donate at any Capitol One bank, or click here.

If you know anything that could help police, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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