After hit-and-run crash severely injures 9-year-old, neighbors say street needs safety changes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police are searching for a driver who ran over a nine-year-old boy on a bike and took off.

The crash happened around 6 p.m. Sunday night at Smart and Spruce avenues in the Historic Northeast.

Neighbors are worried these kinds of crashes will keep happening if safety improvements don’t get made.

In the middle of Smart Avenue, there are still reminders of Sunday night’s serious crash.

“There was some cars passing really fast, and then I saw the car hit the kid — and he didn’t stop. They actually drove off fast,” neighbor Rocio Peres said.

KCPD is now looking for a silver car with front end damage, as the driver they believe left the nine-year-old boy bruised and bloody in the streets.

“He broke his jaw. He broke his arm, had a head injury. Wasn’t until paramedics arrived, he started to respond a little bit,” neighbor Craig Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s daughter is a nurse and rushed to the scene to help. She did first aid and comforted the little boy’s mom until EMS arrived.

“She’s seen tragedy and snaps into action,” Mitchell said.

He said his heart breaks for the family, who moved here from Africa.

“They’re just so engaging, so friendly. Wonderful family,” he said.

But he and other neighbors are frustrated.  Back in October, just one block up the road, there was another serious crash, which sent four teens to the hospital after a car driving too fast flew off the street and into a house.

There are few stop signs on Smart Avenue, and neighbors said speed is a persistent concern.

“I want them to put speed bumps on the road so they don’t run down the street as fast,” Peres said.

But Mitchell said despite repeated complaints to the city, nothing is being done. He fears if that no changes are made to force traffic to slow down, the next crash could be deadly.

“For you to drive that fast out here, it’s got to be in part maybe you’ve got a problem with your soul, but it’s also in part because you can,” he said. “Nobody is making it harder to do that, and the ramifications of doing it are more extreme. We just don`t seem to be able to get that part right.”

The city said any speeding complaints can be called into KCPD as an enforcement request.

Kansas City Public Works said it also regularly monitors city intersections to ensure proper traffic control is in place based on federal requirements as outlined in the Federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Traffic calming devices, like speed bumps and stop signs, can be pursued by neighborhoods through PIAC requests.

FOX4 also reached out  to former city councilman Scott Wagner, who now leads the Northeast Alliance Together, NEAT.

He said he’ll get the ball rolling to see what traffic studies might be needed, to identify ways of improving safety in the area where the two crashes occurred and help submit PIAC requests.

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