"It's Not Going to Bring My Baby Back": Man Surrenders in Hit-and-Run That Killed Toddler

The child was struck and dragged to the next intersection before the driver turned and disappeared

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Friends and family gathered to mourn a 4-year-old boy who was struck and killed in a hit-and-run, hours after a man turned himself in to police in connection with the crash. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Friday, July 11, 2014. (Published Friday, Jul 11, 2014)

    Family and friends gathered Friday night to remember a 4-year-old boy who was struck and killed in a hit-and-run, the vigil held hours after a man surrendered in connection with the fatal crash that also hurt the boy's aunt.

    The hit-and-run crash happened about 7 p.m. at Firestone Boulevard and Holmes Avenue, according to the LA County Sheriff's Department.

    Man Surrenders in Connection to Boy's Hit-and-Run Death

    [LA] Man Surrenders in Connection to Boy's Hit-and-Run Death
    A man surrendered to police Friday afternoon in the hit-and-run death of a young boy Thursday night. The suspected driver fled from the scene of the crime while his passenger was detained. Kim Baldonado and Jane Yamamoto report from Florence for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014. (Published Friday, Jul 11, 2014)

    The man turned himself in to Bell Gardens police just before 3:30 p.m. Friday, Bell Gardens Police Lt. Jose Carlos told NBC4. The California Highway Patrol picked him up and took him into custody.

    Aerial video showed an officer walking with a handcuffed man who fit the police description of the driver (shown at right).

    The boy who was killed, Evan Butterfield, turned 4 years old last month. Evan's mother spoke to NBC4 after finding out the man turned himself in.

    "I'm happy but I'm just overwhelmed. No matter what, you turned yourself in, but it's not going to bring my baby back," Ronisha Butterfield said through tears. "I mean I thank you for doing that, but it's like, how could you? How could you? You could've stopped. OK, you hit him, but you could have stopped."

    "Thank God my sister is still living...but why my baby?" Ronisha said.

    Witnesses said Evan's aunt, Brianna Puryear, was pushing the boy across the street in a plastic stroller when a man driving a red hatchback struck them. The child was then dragged to the next intersection before the driver turned and disappeared, witness Jeronimo Zaca said.

    Puryear, 23, came to the vigil immediately after leaving the hospital on Friday.

    "I blacked out for a minute, then when I opened my eyes, I see my nephew over there on Holmes Avenue and I just started screaming and crying," Puryear said. "(A man turning himself in) helps but it doesn't take away the fact that he killed my nephew."

    The hit-and-run driver also hit a black pickup truck and a silver compact car that were stopped at the intersection.

    Evan's mother was in shock when she heard what happened to her son.

    "My first instinct...I jumped out of bed with no shoes on and I ran and I ran," Ronisha said. "My baby was already dead. He was dead already...dead, dead."

    "Evan was very smart," said Robin Garrett Sr., who identified himself as the child's godfather "I took him horseback riding at Griffith Park. I took him ice skating. When I first took him in there, he touched the ice and tasted it. Whenever I got depressed and wanted to be around somebody to give me some life, some energy, Evan was always there for me."

    "It's going to be a big hole in my gut," Garrett said. "I'm going to miss him dearly."

    Witnesses saw the crash and chased after the driver, a man, and his female passenger after they ran away from the car. They caught the woman and held her until police arrived and took her into custody.

    "She's standing there not knowing this baby is fighting for his life in the middle of the street, and she's laughing until she gets back to the scene and sees the baby not breathing," witness Hazel Bradford said.

    The family opened a donation fund for Evan's memorial service. Anyone who wants to donate to the Evan Butterfield Memorial Fund can give to PayPal account #28KRV93T4GLMN.

    Kim Baldonado and Jane Yamamoto contributed this report.

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