Citizens point to traffic concerns after Gentilly child killed in hit and run

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 11:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 2:58 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

GENTILLY, La. -- The family of a 6-year-old New Orleans boy is grieving after the first grader was hit and killed by a driver who took off from the scene.

The deadly accident unfolded along Paris Avenue near I-610 in Gentilly, where community members say something needs to be done to slow down traffic.

"I live in this neighborhood here. Since last year, I've seen four kids get hit on this street," said Gentilly resident Barry Hamlett.

Unmistakable, gut-wrenching grief is what Shaud Wilson's family is feeling. Relatives spoke to Eyewitness News just hours after the six-year-old was killed, hit by a gray Honda Crosstour on his way to school.

The first grader and his 9-year-old sister were crossing Paris Avenue at Lafrienere Street, when police say 22-year-old Arthur Toledano hit them both, driving away from the scene. Surveillance video captures the pair trying to cross the street. Wilson died at the hospital, his sister is expected to be okay.

"Get a caution light or something for these kids because it's very heartbreaking for a child, especially when they get hit and the person don't stop," said Hamlett.

Community members confirm speeding cars continue to be a problem on Paris Avenue.

"They're going way past the speed limit and it's like they in a hurry to get to a job that's going to be there," said driver Donald Blair.

"Paris Avenue has kind of become this expressway thoroughfare, and further down Paris when you get past Mirabeau Ave, I've had a lot of complaints," said state Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, who grew up in Gentilly.

The state lawmaker said some neighborhoods haven't bounced back since Katrina which continues to negatively impact traffic flow in the area. Morrell said Paris Avenue is used by drivers as a short-cut because there are less stops to get to and from the Lakefront.

"It's obvious there needs to be a more updated traffic study. There needs to be a greater emphasis on whether it be actual traffic cameras or just lights," Morrell said.

Akili Academy, where Wilson went to school, said notes were sent home to parents on Monday informing them of the tragedy.

School administrators say grief counselors were also on site and will remain on the campus throughout the week to offer support to staff and students.

Crescent City Schools issued this statement on Monday:

"The entire Crescent City Schools network joins with the Akili Academy community in expressing our deepest condolences and sympathies in the wake of Shaud Wilson's tragic death on February 3. Shaud was a beloved member of the Akili Academy student body and he will be greatly missed by his teachers and classmates.

"We are shocked and saddened by this loss and our teachers, staff, and students share in his family's grief. We will continue to support his siblings and family in any way possible in the coming months."

 

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