Woman charged in hit-and-run that injured 3-year-old in St. Louis Park | KSTP.com

Woman charged in hit-and-run that injured 3-year-old in St. Louis Park

Woman charged in hit-and-run that injured 3-year-old in St. Louis Park

Gracie Stockton
Updated: September 15, 2021 07:46 PM
Created: September 15, 2021 07:27 PM

An Eden Prairie woman has been arrested and charged after allegedly hitting a 3-year-old child with her car and fleeing the scene.

Kandis Lavon Pettis, 68, was taken into custody Monday and charged with criminal vehicular operation with bodily harm. She posted a $6,000 bond on Wednesday and was released.

On Monday at 11:05 a.m., St. Louis Park police responded to the intersection of Excelsior Boulevard and Natchez Avenue on a report of an injury accident involving a minor, court records show. At the scene, they learned that a car had run a red light and struck a 3-year-old child in a crosswalk, then fled the scene. The child, who was crying and had multiple head wounds, was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Multiple witnesses stopped to help the child and his mother and reported the suspect vehicle as a white Toyota Camry, according to a warrant.

One witness said the child "flew through the air approximately 15 feet" and may have "bounced" off of a second car before hitting the ground. His mother then took him from the road. Another witness followed the suspect vehicle and took a picture that showed the license plate, which was shared with police.

Leading up to the incident, witnesses said the Camry was moving fast, swerving around several other vehicles that had stopped at the light, before it maneuvered into the left-turn lane and hit the child in the crosswalk. The car then continued straight through the red light, heading eastbound in the westbound lane of traffic and fled, according to a complaint.

Police were able to use surveillance video from a nearby gas station to confirm witness testimony and identify Pettis as the owner of the Camry.

Pettis admitted to police on the phone that she'd been in the area around the time of the crash. She told officers she was looking at her navigation system and then noted vehicles had stopped in front of her; she then swerved left to avoid a truck. Pettis said she saw a mother and child in the crosswalk but neglected to stop and that she didn't know what color the light was when she went through the intersection. According to the complaint, she "did not believe she struck anything."

Officers applied for and executed a search warrant on Monday to search the Camry and obtain Pettis's phone, as well as to look at vehicle data and whether Pettis was distracted at the time of the accident.

She was taken into custody and booked at 4:38 p.m. Monday and was released after posting bond at Hennepin County Jail at 3:12 p.m. Wednesday.

The injured child is expected to recover.

An investigation is underway. Pettis has a court date set for Sept. 24.

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