Family of Tacoma trick-or-treater hit by car: This street is dangerous

Police in Tacoma say a suspected drunk driver put a seven-year-old trick or treater in the hospital on Monday. Now the boy's family is calling for change.

The family of a little boy hit by a car on Halloween night in Tacoma is now calling for safety improvements to the busy road where it happened.

The 7-year-old was hit by a suspected drunk driver near the intersection of North I Street and 9th.  He was trick-or-treating with his father and brother when it happened.

Two days later, he remains in the ICU, in critical condition.

"When I realized this was one of our students, I mean, I was already heartbroken, but that was just devastating because I have a relationship with the family and with this little boy," said Gemma Stephani.

Stephani is the director of an after school program the boy and his brother both attend in Tacoma.

She says there's been an outpouring of support for the family over the last two days.  But she says the boy's parents are declining all offers for meals or donations.

What they really want is for people to write letters to Tacoma city leaders, asking for stronger speed limit enforcement and street improvements on I Street.

"They want people to contact city councilmembers, contact the police, to really put their energy and efforts into making sure something happens to make this street safer," said Stephani.  "Whether that looks like traffic circles, beacons, lighted crosswalks - anything just to make it more pedestrian safe."

Stephani said people routinely ignore the 30 mph speed limit on I Street.

"There are a lot of pedestrians around here, but there's nothing other than sidewalks to support safety," said Stephani.  "So that's what the family really wants to see happen as a result of this.  Make sure it doesn't happen to someone else's child."

A vigil is planned for Friday at 5 p.m. at the intersection of North I Street and 9th, near where the child was hit.  Stephani said they're asking people to bring signs, reminding drivers to slow down.  
 
The goal is to draw attention to what many neighbors view as a dangerous intersection.

Copyright 2016 KING


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