Neighbors push for changes to road where 4-year-old was hit; driver charged

Neighbors push for changes to road where 4-year-old was hit; driver charged

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Neighbors on North Beech Avenue in Highland Springs are looking for a change after a young boy riding his bicycle was hit by a man fleeing police on a motorcycle.

Virginia State Police say it started when troopers attempted to stop Alexander Pettiford, 27, on the highway Sunday.

“Slow the hell down!” Windell Smith said.

It’s a simple but stern message from many of the people living on North Beech Avenue in Highland Springs.

A four-year-old boy hit by a motorcycle while out riding his bicycle on Father’s Day.

“I saw the man fly by and I said, ‘he is going to hurt somebody.’ He was hitting third or fourth gear when he got here and was still picking up speed,” Smith said.

Alexander Pettiford of North Carolina was driving the motorcycle.

Virginia State Police said a trooper attempted to stop a motorcycle for going 97 mph on Interstate 295. The motorcyclist fled the trooper and exited onto Nine Mile Road.

VSP said the trooper lost sight of the motorcycle but remained in the area in case it reappeared.

The trooper was notified of a crash involving a motorcycle and a juvenile approximately eight minutes later.

The trooper arrived on scene of the crash and determined it was the same motorcycle that had fled the traffic stop.

“He shot right through there and then I heard the noise. I walked down there and a woman was sitting in the street and I think she was holding the boy. There were people running in and out of the house,” Smith said.

Pettiford crashed into the little boy.

Police say he was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

“Good kid. Nice. Everyone likes him. He would come up to our yard and get my child out,” Phillip Johnson said.

Phillip Johnson’s kids often played with the injured boy.

“Cars come up and down beech flying. They come down the side street. The main roads, they don’t fly because police sit up there,” Johnson said.

Another issue in the community: street racing.

“The road has black marks there now and there weren’t any there yesterday,” Smith said.

As the 4-year-old recovers in the hospital, residents are pushing for speed bumps to hopefully slow down drivers.

“If you put them there, then people don’t want to tear their cars up so they will slow down,” Another Neighbor said.

“Slow the heck down before someone gets seriously hurt, and by the time you realize it some parents are going to be whooping your tail,” Johnson said.

Pettiford was charged by VSP with felony eluding, possession of a concealed weapon, two counts of reckless driving, speeding and six traffic infractions. He was also given a reckless driving charge by Henrico police.

Officials said Pettiford was denied bond.

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