KANSAS CITY, Mo. — LaShanda Temple lost her leg to a hit-and-run driver earlier this month.
But as the 36-year-old recovers in her hospital bed, she’s finding some relief now that police say they’ve caught the man responsible.
Christopher Wilson, 41, was arrested and charged Tuesday for striking Temple with his car at 31st and Benton on June 16.
Temple was getting into her car on East 31st Street at about 4 a.m. when she said she first heard and then saw a car heading straight for her.
She was taken to Truman Medical Center for what she said was life-saving surgery.
But when she awoke, she’d learn her left leg was shattered in several places. They had to amputate her right leg.
“Each day I look and I don’t have my leg. It does something to me because this was not God’s plan. I was born with two legs. I wasn’t supposed to have one,” Temple said.
As she’s had surgery after surgery, her mother has been in touch with police as they searched for the driver who first stopped to apologize — then took off.
Rosilyn Temple works with police in her role at Kansas City’s Mothers in Charge, an organization that works with families of homicide victims.
“I truly believe it was an accident, but this day and time it wasn’t because you allowed the Kansas City Police Department to take time out and look for you and you knew what you did,” she said of the suspect.
Witnesses described the car as an older brown Chevy with gold trim and gold rims that had been in the Juneteenth car show at 18th and Vine the day before.
When detectives started looking online, they found an Instagram post of a 1972 Chevy Caprice matching the vehicle description.
“That’s it. I hate to look at that car,” LaShanda Temple said when shown the post for the first time.
The license plate included in the post would lead them to Wilson.
Police ran the plate they found through automatic license plate recognition software connected to sensors in the city and said they were able to find video of the vehicle driving close to the accident scene moments before the hit and run.
Temple has a long road ahead of her. Her remaining leg will have to heal before she can be fitted for a prosthetic and begin therapy.
“I just turned 36. I love to dance and I’m about to be a grandmother, so no way did I see this coming,” she said.
Her hospital room is filled with signs and get well balloons as she’s getting support, including from the families her family has helped support over the years.
“She will walk. She will run. She will dance again, but I just want to let him know you did this,” Rosilyn Temple said.