The mother of a 2-year-old boy killed Sunday in a hit-and-run in New Orleans said she watched as the driver got out of his vehicle, saw the toddler lying in the street and then fled the scene.
The incident happened about 5:15 p.m. in the 3100 block of North Claiborne Avenue.
Albertnesha Glover, 16, said her son, Christian, had run into the busy street after one of his toys.
She said the driver got out of the truck after the collision.
“He stopped, got out of the car, looked at me and then drove off,” she said. “I’m just trying not to cry.”
Police have yet to make an arrest, but they have obtained surveillance video of the man’s vehicle, a late-model, white Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.
The driver was described as a black man, between 5-feet-10 and 6 feet, wearing a blue V-neck shirt and dark pants.
Alvin McMillan, who was next door at the time of the accident, said Glover grabbed the bleeding infant in her arms and whisked him to the sidewalk after he was struck. He said the force of the impact was such that the child’s powder-blue shoes were sent flying in opposite directions, ending up five blocks apart.
“The baby was gasping for air,” he said.
McMillan said a bystander who works as a nurse was already performing CPR when ambulances pulled up a few minutes later.
The child was transported to a hospital, where he died.
McMillan said the two streetlights closest to the scene of the accident have been broken for some time, making visibility poor on the street.
That claim was backed up by another neighbor, Jerome Johnson, who said he has called the city numerous times about the lighting issues but has never received a response. He said the lights have been out since 2009.
“It’s pitch black dark out here in the street,” Johnson said. “Nobody’s going to see an infant.”
Friends and family members of the victim said the 35-mph speed limit on the road is rarely heeded.
Nicole Jones, who identified herself as Christian’s godmother, at one point Monday stalked into the middle of the road and began screaming at passing cars to slow down.
Lamaka Randle, the grandmother of the victim, described Christian as a cheerful, lovable toddler. “He was always so happy,” she said. “That’s one child who was always a happy baby.”
Randle and a handful of tearful women consoled one another outside of Glover’s home.
“Why would you just leave him in the street?” she asked, addressing herself to the unknown driver. “You knew you hit him, you looked over his body, and you left him there.”
At a midday news conference, NOPD Traffic Cmdr. Lt. Anthony Micheu said police have received a Crimestoppers tip about the incident, and he urged other witnesses who saw the incident to come forward.
Micheu said there were no tire marks at the scene or other indications from the initial investigation that the driver had been braking at the time of impact.
He said the perpetrator could face an array of possible charges, ranging from felony hit-and-run to manslaughter.
“It started out as an accident, and it’s turned into more,” he said.
He urged the perpetrator to turn himself in.
“Somebody has to have a conscience,” Micheu said.
A memorial will be held for Christian at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the scene of the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.