MILWAUKEE -- A 6-year-old girl was killed after she was struck by a reckless driver during a hit-and-run Thursday evening, Oct. 24 near 22nd and Center streets. Her 4-year-old sister and 10-year-old cousin were seriously injured.
Still, less than 24 hours later, the tragedy did not appear to be changing some drivers' behavior. A FOX6 News crew spotted several reckless drivers on Friday, Oct. 25 in the same intersection this heart-wrenching crash unfolded -- evidence that there's much more work to be done.
City leaders said they're working on a plan to end reckless driving -- something they're calling an "epidemic."
"When I saw the news last night, it just breaks your heart," said Alderman Michael Murphy. "It just turned my stomach."
Murphy, who is leading the City-County Carjacking and Reckless Driving Task Force pleaded for drivers to slow down.
"And then the person who did this terrible crime -- not even have the decency to stop and get out of the car and help," said Murphy. "It just gives me nightmares. I don't know how we're producing human beings like this. It's so heartless."
On Friday, FOX6's cameras captured cars swerving through bike lanes, blowing red lights, and tailgating in the intersection of 22nd and Center. Five blocks away, at 27th and Center -- one of Milwaukee's most dangerous intersections -- we found more of the same.
"It's going to have to be a multi-prong attack because we didn't get here overnight," said Murphy.
Alderman Murphy on Friday released a draft of the task force's initial findings.
"Changing people's behavior is the key focus," said Murphy.
The nearly 30-page report focused on a three-pronged approach: Engineering Solutions, Accountability and Enforcement, and Prevention and Education. It included more than 20 recommendations -- adding speedbumps and roundabouts, exploring the possibility of red-light cameras, and increasing awareness are among them.
"Because it could be any one of our children," said Murphy.
The task force began meeting in April 2019. Murphy said several public listening sessions would be held across the community to gather input before a final plan would be adopted.
CLICK HERE to read the report.
Alderman Bob Donovan, chair of the Milwaukee Common Council's Public Safety Committee announced a Saturday morning news conference during which alderpersons would outline "multiple steps being pursued to combat reckless driving across the city" in the wake of this tragic hit-and-run.
A news release said Common Council members submitted a letter to Governor Tony Evers, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin Assembly and Senate leaders, and members of the Milwaukee state delegation requesting immediate state resources to help combat reckless driving in the city.
CLICK HERE to read the letter.
Alderman Russell Stamper and Alderman Robert Bauman issued statements on the incident Friday.
Alderman Stamper's statement:
"Last night at the intersection of North 22nd and West Center streets, a reckless driver hit three children, killing one, and fled the scene."
"I am saddened and disgusted by the disregard this individual showed for the community, and specifically the children. My condolences go out to the family of the 6-year-old girl who was killed, and I pray for a speedy recovery for her 4-year-old sister and their 10-year-old cousin. I cannot imagine what these families are going through, and I ask the neighbors to join me in providing love, prayers and support in this difficult time."
"Reckless driving has become the number one public safety issue in Milwaukee, and it has to end. This situation is every parent’s nightmare, and no one should ever have to fear their child or loved one will be run down while walking home."
"More action needs to be taken, and in the coming weeks I will be introducing legislation to further crack down on those who show reckless abandon on our roads. The time is now to show that we mean business when it comes to keeping our streets safe."
"The individual who committed this cowardly act is still at large. Police are searching for a 2007-2009 gray Saturn Aura with tinted windows and front-end damage. The suspect is a black male in his 20s with dread locks. If anyone in the community has information regarding this individual, I ask you to speak up so we can provide justice for these children and their families."
"Anyone with any information about the driver should contact Milwaukee police immediately at (414) 935-7360."
Alderman Bauman's statement:
"The death of one child and the serious injuries suffered by two other children at 22nd & Center yesterday is absolutely horrific and senseless, yet it is only the latest in a long list of senseless deaths and injuries related to reckless driving and speeding automobiles in the city."
"While solutions to this carnage are evasive the city has developed several plans that could help increase roadway safety. Recently the Common Council adopted a Complete Streets Policy and a Pedestrian Plan which recommend various actions to slow traffic and increase public safety. The problem is that the Barrett Administration’s 2020 executive budget has recommended virtually no funding to implement these recommendations."
"Accordingly, I will offer a budget amendment to add at least $500,000 in funding to the Multi-modal account (the account that would fund these plans) in the DPW capital budget and move $700,000 from the traffic signal account to the Multi-modal account to fund the implementation of as many of the recommended safety actions as possible."