WARSAW, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — A community is stunned and a family is in unspeakable grief after an 8-year-old boy was killed by a car as he crossed the street with his sisters after summer school.
“I just looked outside to see what was going on and I saw little shoes,” Bethany Roman says.
“I can say that as a police officer, this is the worst thing. This is the worst case scenario, having to deal with a child that’s been injured,” Warsaw Police Detective Sgt. Brad Kellar tells us.
Police say early Monday afternoon, 8-year-old Gidieon Cook and his two older sisters had just gotten off the summer school bus that dropped them off at Harrison Elementary School, when they pressed the button to flash a yellow light to help them safely cross Husky Trail, a busy street on the north side of Warsaw.
“I saw the little boy laying on the ground, so I saw him from his chest down, his legs lifeless. He wasn’t even moving, he wasn’t doing nothing. And then I saw the two girls, which I heard was his sisters, leaning over top of him,” Roman recounts.
She works nearby and says she heard the young girls screaming.
“The look on the poor little girls’ faces was something you definitely don’t want to see,” she says.
Police say 24-year-old Raven Loubert was turning left onto Husky Trail, when she ran into Gidieon in the crosswalk, hitting him so hard she knocked his shoes off.
He died on the way to the hospital.
“That’s a difficult thing for us as law enforcement, as first responders, fire, EMS, there’s a job to do. We must be professional in doing that job and making sure it’s taken care of, but those are the issues you take home,” Kellar admits.
He says the driver gave a blood sample to be tested for drugs or alcohol.
“In addition, she volunteered a consensual search of her cell phone. And so with that, we will do a forensic download, and obviously that’s to look for any type of distraction that may have taken place during that time,” Kellar says.
This academic year, the school district improved the signage at the crossing, adding flashing yellow lights that activate for two minutes when a button is pushed.
But some say that doesn’t go far enough, because every morning during the school year, Warsaw police have to sit there to ensure students’ safety.
“A couple of the girls, we were talking, it’d be nice if they did some kind of like bridge or something to where the kids can walk over or just some other way for the kids. Because we’ve seen the cops actually pull people over because they’ve ran the yellow lights when kids are trying, about ready to cross,” Roman suggests.
A police chaplain was at the station Tuesday in case any officers wanted to talk.
“It definitely is not an image that you can shake. It’ll probably be with me for a little bit, just seeing the little lifeless legs,” Roman says.
A candlelight memorial is planned for Thursday night at 7:30 at the crosswalk where Gidieon was hit.
Everyone is welcome.