Home Safety Hit-and-run driver at large after killing 2 children, injuring 4 others

Hit-and-run driver at large after killing 2 children, injuring 4 others

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David Fleshler, Angie DiMichele and Austen Erblat

South Florida Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A hit-and-run driver killed two children Monday afternoon in Wilton Manors and injured four others before fleeing, authorities said.

Witnesses said a car attempted to swerve around a bus that had stopped to let off passengers, and the car hit the children. Detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office are seeking the driver.

Two of the injured are in critical condition and two have non-life-threatening injuries, according to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battallion Chief Stephen Gollan. All six were between the ages of one and 10.

The car, which appeared to be a gray Nissan, drove up on the sidewalk to get around a bus, said Shaunta Adams, who had just driven away from her apartment.

“By the time I looked up, I saw him going around the bus and I see him hit the damn kids,” Adams, 51, said. “I jumped out my car, my car was still running, I ran up and saw the first girl on the ground. I knew she was dead. I go to the second kid and I see him dead.”

She said other people shouted that there were more kids, so she turned and saw several more near another car.

“There were four of them, and the oldest one, he was holding a baby, who was maybe about 2, and he was holding — I guess they’re all sisters and brothers — and he was saying, ‘Ow, my leg.’ And I said, ‘Hold on, the ambulance is coming.’ And I just started crying because the little girl’s head was bleeding, and it was just awful.”

When the children were hit, residents of an apartment building across the street heard screaming.

Wallene Johnson, 64, came outside and saw two bodies in the parking lot behind the wheels of a parked car. She saw another child lying on the ground down the road.

“How can you sleep?” she asked. “And they’re babies. They won’t be going back to school.”

It happened around 2417 N.W. Ninth Avenue, on a busy four-lane road lined with two-story apartment buildings. The call to police came at 2:50 p.m.

The scene was traumatic even for paramedics and police officers accustomed to scenes of violence. The first paramedic saw the two deceased victims and dropped his gear, realizing it was too late, said Adams. He threw blankets over them and started crying. She said she also saw police officers huddled and crying.

“This event is a horrific event any time of the year, let alone right after the holidays,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battallion Chief Gollan. “And at this time, we’re helping the families as well as our first responders by having grief counselors onsite to guide them through.

“If you have any information with regards to the incident that took place, any video footage, anything at all, please contact the Wilton Manors Police Department with that information.”

The bus driver, Selvin Arjun, told WFOR-Ch. 4 that a gray Nissan swerved in front of him as he left passengers off. “I don’t know if he couldn’t control the car because he was going fast, but he drove straight into those kids,” Arjun said.

Anyone with information about what happened was asked to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

The four injured children were taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battallion Chief Gollan.

The identities of the children were not released. Officials haven’t yet given additional details about the circumstances.

The Wilton Manors Police Department closed the 1900 to 2600 blocks to traffic and told drivers to seek alternate routes.

A family reunification center was set up at the Wilton Manors Emergency Operations Center at 2020 Wilton Drive.

Law enforcement officials are seen after reports of two children being killed and three others hospitalized after a car crash at intersection of Northwest 24th Street and Northwest 9th Avenue in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS)

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©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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