Drivers Ignore Boy Dying In Street

Some things happen in life that challenge our faith in mankind. This is one of those events.

On March 9, 2016, 11 year-old Maurice A. Richards was hit by a car and killed as he crossed an East St. Louis city street. The fact that an innocent child’s life ended so abruptly is–in and of itself–heartbreaking.

This story gets worse.

Maurice was the victim of a hit and run. According to police, the car struck the child and kept going. Now, while this is an absolutely deplorable and horrific act on the part of the driver, we can devise rational excuses to explain how and why the driver would do such a thing. Maybe the driver was a teenager who had taken a parent’s car without permission. The teen accidentally hit Maurice, panicked and drove away. Perhaps the driver had been drinking and feared the outcome if the police were called. The driver could have had drugs in the car, been unlicensed, or leaving the scene of another crime–the list of possibilities is endless.

While our anger rages toward the driver that accidentally hit this child and left him there, there is a small part of us that sort of gets it. We don’t like it, but we get it.

Here’s saddest part of the story–the part that cannot be reconciled.

As 11-year-old Maurice lay on the rain drenched pavement–dying–other motorists simply drove around his body. That’s right. They drove around the body of an 11 year-old-boy laying in the street. Eventually, someone, an angel perhaps, did stop and assist the boy. By the time authorities arrived on the scene, Maurice’s clothes were completely soaked as he had laid in the rain for so long. He died at the hospital. No one knows exactly how long that poor child lay in the street…dying…alone.

Now here’s the question: who is responsible for Maurice’s death? Was it the driver? The onlookers and motorists that did nothing? Or was it both both? The police are still searching for suspects in this case–but who should they be searching for–the driver or the other motorists? Shouldn’t the heartless bystanders and witnesses be held accountable and partly responsible for this death? East St. Louis police detective Jason Hicks thinks so. In a statement to the St Louis Post-Dispatch Hicks called out the motorist that left Maurice in the street;

Just for the fact that they’re seeing someone lying in the street and didn’t render aid … they need to be held accountable. “We as citizens of East St. Louis need to start taking a more serious role in things that go on.” He went on to say, “If you were one of the ones that saw the young man laying in the street and went around him, you know it’s not right.”

This brings in to question The Good Samaritan Law. The Good Samaritan Law does not obligate a person to come to the aid of another who is severely injured or unconscious. However, some states do consider it an act of negligence if bystanders do not at least call for help. One call–sooner–could have saved Maurice’s life. The Good Samaritan Law in Illinois applies primarily to licensed medical professionals and is ambiguous at best, in cases like this. The motorists who left Maurice to die–alone–will not be prosecuted.

Let’s honor this young man’s life, by learning from this tragedy and embracing the notion that we are our brother’s keeper. It’s the decent thing to do.

Featured Image by Chris Yarzab on Flickr available for use under Creative Commons License 2.0

Denise is currently a writer and editor for a federal agency in Washington, DC. Prior to that she served as an elementary and middle school teacher in Charleston, SC. She is an open-minded free spirit always read for new adventures. She enjoys traveling and relishes being exposed to alternate points of view. She is passionate about what she does and does everything passionately. Faith, family and finances are the core of her value system. She follows her own path and marches to her own beat. She is a dream chaser and with her husband and best friend by her side, she plans to take over the world.