September 25, 2023

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‘It needs to come to an end:’ Memorial held for third child killed by vehicles in 3 weeks


About 100 men and women gathered in Lawndale Friday to launch balloons in memory of 11-year-aged Ja’lon James, who was killed in a hit and operate Thursday morning.

Police cameras captured a vehicle velocity by means of a yellow mild at Homan and 16th prior to hitting Ja’lon as he and his brother crossed the avenue. Ja’lon was dragged 50 percent a block down 16th Avenue before the driver stopped briefly at Christiana Avenue then fled the scene, just fifty percent a block from the boys’ dwelling.

The gathering wasn’t just a memorial but relatively a celebration of Ja’lon’s everyday living, his aunt Nykia Harrison claimed. After releasing a selection of coloured balloons, the group commenced barbecuing burgers and scorching pet dogs.

“We’re celebrating his life, his contentment, the matters he utilised to appreciate,” Harrison stated, listing off his curiosity in basketball, boxing and dance.

Irrespective of the celebratory character of the event, a memorial to Ja’lon — like a stuffed elephant with floppy ears and bouquets of bouquets — sat significantly less than a mile away, prompting close by inhabitants to voice concern about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

David Little, a 30-12 months Lawndale resident who explained he witnessed the strike and run, explained the avenue necessary “all of that” when it comes to road safety steps, these as prevent indicators and velocity cameras.

Lawndale resident Iftin Abdi Bashir said she understood the suffering the boy’s household was heading via due to the fact her sister was temporarily paralyzed after a hit-and-run incident, including a digicam was wanted “on each block.”

Harrison stated a little something requires to be carried out to avoid potential tragedies.

“They require to do something about it,” Harrison claimed. “Next time, who is aware? [What if] somebody strike a few, 4 folks and get rid of them, then what?”

The space wherever Ja’lon was hit has viewed various deadly strike and operates in latest yrs: 1 in 2019 that killed a 51-yr-old lady and another in 2020 that killed a 21-year-outdated girl.

Citywide, Ja’lon was the 3rd baby to be killed by motorists in Chicago in three months.

On June 2, 2-12 months-old Rafi Cardenas was struck and killed by a driver whilst using a mini-scooter in Lincoln Square. A week later on, 3-yr-aged Lily Grace died after she was operate around by a semi driver in Uptown. She was riding in her mother’s bike carrier and fell under the wheels of the truck.

The children’s fatalities have triggered a get in touch with for change, and in Lily’s circumstance, the needs have targeted on bicycle lanes.

Although Ja’lon’s grandmother Nicole Harrison said she was “hoping and praying” his death prospects to improve, she explained she wasn’t sure what would enable.

“To be truthful with you, the velocity cameras and velocity bumps, I never even feel that would assistance,” Nicole Harrison stated. “We nonetheless have pace bumps out right here that you see folks flying, they go ideal in excess of them. I don’t know what the option is, but it demands to arrive to an stop.”

Law enforcement mentioned no a person was in custody, though the car had been recovered after it was found abandoned on an additional road in Lawndale.


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