Family mourns loss of 12-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car while riding bike

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City family is grieving the loss of a 12-year-old boy. Jawuan Bettis was hit by a car at 71 Highway and 55th Street early Saturday morning. He survived the weekend, but passed away early Tuesday morning.

Jawuan's mother, Julia Bettis, described him as a bright, vibrant young man. He loved sports and riding his bike. Police say he crossed against a red light and was hit by a car shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday.

"We had to go to the funeral home to make the services, that wasn't good," explained Shirley Stevenson, Jawuan’s great aunt.

One of Jawuan’s cousins said his mom is trying to hold it together, but it's tough. Thankfully the family is close.

All that remains of the accident scene are markings left behind by accident investigators, but it still paints a horrific story. Jawuan was hit on his bike near the cross walk; he landed about 40 feet away and his bike flew about 100 feet.

He was rushed to the hospital. Police say a woman was driving the car southbound on 71 Highway and stopped after the accident. She wasn't impaired, and according to witnesses, she had a green light.

Jawuan’s family is in pain, but still trying to remember the good things about him and how much he used to make everyone laugh.

"Yes, you have too, so we can liven it up. He kept the humor, I mean he was a vibrant young man," said cousin Shirley Stevenson.

Police say the investigation is ongoing, but no charges are expected against the driver. Jawuan's family has set up a memorial fund. It's under his name at any Community America Credit Union.

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  • Margaret LaRose

    While it is tragic that this young man has lost his life I wonder how it is that he is out riding hid bike at that hour. Mom must be feeling doubly bad. She lost her child needlessly and she knows it could have been avoided if he had been home in bed.

  • David Kidd

    What the heck was he doing out riding his bike at 2:00 in the morning Somebody wasn’t paying attention at all to what he was doing. The kid should have been in bed at that time!

    • kyairrashoals

      You people don’t understand don’t judge unless you know the story he was family and he knew and saw stuff that a child should never go though at this time. If it was your child what would you have said if someone commented what you commented

  • Trena

    My prayers go out to this family…with that being said…12yrs old…and 2am DO NOT MIX! I understand that it is still summer break so 2am to still be up is okay but you are to be up and at HOME! Not on the porch…not in the yard…not on the BLOCK…IN THE HOUSE!!! Makes me really question his parents…Did you know where your child was? Where had he been at that time of morning…or where was he going? So many unanswered questions. Mom you may be in trouble…there is a summer curfew and you were definitely in violation. Sad…we have got to take better care of our precious children!

  • tamika

    R.I.P jawuan Bettis we all new him he was like a brother to some and a best friend to others we all will miss him very much and some adults need to be responsible and understand that if we read your comments that its respectful because many people loved him .

  • Debra Johnson

    My heart is broken upon hearing of this precious young man’s loss of life. He was not a bad kid. Jawuan was in my class at Love Fellowship Church, 5300 Park, KCMO. We have a Wednesday Night Youth Ministry and have been on break the month of July (for the 1st time). He was handsome, a good reader, and had a playful side that I had to reel in from time to time. He wasn’t vicious just precocious. The last day of Vacation Bible School (June 27) when Pastor Gus Franklin extended the invitation, about 20 young people stood up and he led them in the Sinners prayer. Jawaun was one of them. Afterwards we had prayer with them at the altar. Minister Debra Newton prayed with Jawuan. I asked her daughter today if her mom remembered what was said. She told me that her mother remembered it was heavy on her to pray for him that night. They were the last two people praying and we had to wait for them.

    We’ve had this program for the neighborhood children for three years, but Jawuan and his sibling only started coming recently. Truthfully, Jawuan was too young to be in my class, but wanted to stay, so I let him. It didn’t matter to me. Actually he was one of the better readers and always volunteered to do so.

    The other teachers and I often say we have no idea who, or how God is going to use the young people entrusted in our care. Who will be the David, Esther, or Paul, among them? And we (I) may not live to see what became of those neighborhood kids who passed our way. But I was certain we made a difference. When I spoke those words, I can truly say I never saw this coming. I expected great things from Jawuan, as I do from all the young people who voluntarily come Wednesday evenings. I don’t know why he was out that time of morning or where he was going. But I like to think I know where he is now. RIP my brother. I will always remember you hitting, writing something, or taking someone’s pencil when you thought I wasn’t looking, and I’ll wonder what could have been.

    (Miss Debra) Johnson