Cleveland vigil held for 5-year-old killed by speeding hit and run driver

CLEVELAND (WJW) – Her household got here to Cleveland from Africa for a greater life, however Friday evening, dozens gathered on W. fiftieth Road the place 5-year-old Apolina Asumani was struck and killed by a dashing hit-and-run driver.

“We are in pain. We cried as much as we could, but we’re still in pain,” stated the little woman’s uncle by means of a translator.

The accident final Saturday has devastated this whole close-knit neighborhood.

A memorial with flowers, balloons and kids’s toys has been rising for the reason that accident Saturday, April 23.

One neighbor created and put in a big steel signal warning drivers to decelerate.

A 17-year-old feminine was ultimately taken into custody by Cleveland Police. These officers stood guard at each ends of the road Friday evening in order that mourners might really feel secure.

“It’s been hard. Like, I haven’t been the same since it happened and I haven’t been able to sleep,” stated neighbor San Pedro Garcia.

Apolina was certainly one of 5 kids who got here right here as refugees with their mom.

Mayele Ngemba, President of the native Congolese Neighborhood, stated that they’re all heartbroken and nonetheless in shock over Apolina’s loss of life.

“She was only 5 years old,” he stated, “She was a pretty girl with a full smile and always helping others.”

On the vigil, the household posted a big image of the 5-year-old’s battered physique taken on the hospital earlier than she handed away.

They added it to the memorial so that everybody who sees it’s going to bear in mind her tragic loss of life.

“The reason we decided to bring that picture out is we want it to be a memory when lawmakers are making laws. We want that picture to come up when people are flying on streets. We want them to look at that picture as a reminder that there are kids on these streets,” stated Ngemba.

Additionally attending the vigil was Cleveland Councilman Kerry McCormack who’s already engaged on getting pace bumps put in in neighborhoods throughout the town and has a listening to on new laws Friday, Might 6.

“It’s the type of change that we need so this is not just a memorial, but there’s action,” stated McCormack, who represents Ward-3.

After two hours sharing tears and hugs, the group launched balloons and promised to proceed combating for change, whereas additionally pleading with drivers to decelerate.

“So please, please, please slow down when driving and be careful and be mindful,” stated Ngemba, “Because 5 years old is too young to die.” 

A funeral service is deliberate for Apolina Saturday morning at St. Colman Church, 2027 W sixty fifth St, Cleveland.

A GoFundMe account has additionally been set as much as assist pay for funeral and burial bills. 

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