According to the Miami Herald, investigators believe Ms Hithon and her friend, who got out of the car before she accelerated, had been drinking heavily.
In social media footage of the shooting, one bystander can be heard saying the driver was “drunk as sh**.”
Cary Hithon said his daughter’s actions were “out of character.”
He told CBS Miami the aspiring lawyer “wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who weren’t as fortunate as her.”
She had recently transferred from Hampton University in Virginia to Temple University in Philadelphia and was expected to graduate with a degree in political sciences. Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into whether police acted lawfully in shooting and killing Ms Hithon.