Boy Struck and Killed by Vehicle as People Flee Shooting

A community event on Saturday night came to a deadly end for one four-year-old Gate City boy.

On Saturday night, Gate City residents were enjoying a community event when gun shots rang out.  People started fleeing from the shooting, and unfortunately for one little boy, he was struck by a vehicle fleeing the scene.  Deonte Mixon died at Children’s Hospital at 10:05 p.m. Saturday, said deputy Jefferson County Coroner Bill Yates. 

At approximately 8:00 p.m., when shots rang out, two adult females were grazed by gunfire and a a 2-year-old boy was shot in the leg.  Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Johnny Williams, said that the injuries were not life threatening.  People attending the community event began fleeing the event, and apparently, according to Williams, “there was an accident approximately two blocks from the shooting where the four-year-old boy was hit by a car, and later died at the hospital.”  Sgt. Williams also stated  the incident is under investigation and so far, no arrests have been made in the shooting or the death of the boy.

The third leading cause of death for children ages five to nine, is being hit by a car.  It isn’t difficult to think of reasons for this frightening statistic:  children are easily distracted and don’t pay attention; they are smaller, which makes them not only more difficult to see, but more likely to sustain fatal injuries when hit; and, finally, they may not see the vehicles coming. 

University of London psychological scientist, John Wann and his colleagues, ran a laboratory simulation of street crossing in order to compare the perceptual skills of adults with those of children of various ages, and found a clear developmental pattern in the perception of the looming vehicles with children.  Although children showed clear improvement in their acuity with age, even the older children in the simulations, did not match the adults in their ability to detect an automobile’s approach.  This result suggests that children’s neural mechanisms for this skill remain undeveloped, and from the data in this study,  scientists determined that children could not reliably detect a car approaching at speeds higher than twenty miles per hour. 

These new findings fit with evidence that children are three times as likely to get hit bay a car when traffic speed exceeds 25 miles per hour.  Not only do speeding drivers need more reaction time, but not it appears that young pedestrians cannot see the cars coming in the first place, and this can be a deadly combination.