By Joel Waldman

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The victim of a hit-and-run is speaking out from her hospital bed, and she has a message for the driver who left her for dead on the side of the road.

There will be an empty seat at the dinner table Monday night, something Maria Martinez’s family isn’t used to.

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“Every night since we are little, she has put it in our heads that we eat together,” said Martinez’s son, Sebastian Trivino.

Martinez ingrained it into her family’s head, but she won’t be in her usual spot at the dining room table.

And who knows for how long after a hit-and-run driver left her unconscious and badly injured on the side of a busy Kendall intersection at SW 122 Avenue and SW 120 Street.

Despite all the pain, Martinez is still thinking of her kids and mom.

“It’s hurting,” she said. “I’m always trying to keep my family together.”

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Martinez is laid up at Kendall Regional Medical Center, unable to move with fractured vertebrae, ribs and hip.

She was struck by a still unidentified vehicle as she ran out of gas, just blocks from her home, trying to push her car out of the way with the help of a stranger.

“He can’t even understand the situation or the hurt or pain he put me through or my kids,” she said of the driver who left her for dead.

“My mom is such a strong woman, the head of our home, the head of the family, who keeps us all together,” said Alexandra Trivino, Martinez’s daughter.

A strong woman only temporarily weakened, still focused on the thing most important to her: family.

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“I’m always active, on top of my kids and my mom,” Martinez said. “I try to always show strength.”