WILKES-BARRE – City and state police are searching for the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a 5-year-old boy in the city Friday night.
According to city police, the boy, identified by Luzerne County Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner Tom Moran as 5-year-old Kevin Miller of Dallas, was struck by a vehicle at the corner of West North Street and North Franklin Street at about 10:55 p.m. Friday. The driver fled the scene prior to police arrival.
Police said the boy was treated on scene for traumatic injuries and rushed to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy Saturday morning at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital determined Miller died of multiple traumatic injuries, with Moran ruling his death a homicide.
Saturday afternoon police released an image of the vehicle they believe struck the boy. It was captured by a surveillance camera on Jackson Street at 10:55 p.m., 1 minute before the accident was reported. The image shows a red sedan, which police believe may be a Pontiac GrandAm with a sun or moon roof and an undetermined amount of front end and side damage.
Police said the vehicle was videotaped by both city cameras and surveillance cameras on privately owned buildings, and witness descriptions match the vehicle shown in the released image.
Police and the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office encourage anyone with information about the vehicle or the accident to contact investigators.
Especially now, around the holidays, this is a terrible tragedy, and if anybody has any information we urge them to contact the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department or 911, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said. We're dealing with a 5-year-old child that is dead now, so any information is important for us.
Miller is the son of Dr. Stephen F. Miller and attorney Caroline Miller of Dallas. He is survived by his parents, twin brother Christopher and older brother Stephen, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He attended kindergarten at I'm Big Now Learning Center in Dallas.
Salavantis said the boy was with family members at the time he was struck. She said she believes both his parents witnessed the accident.
The accident occurred near the Our Lady of Fatima Blessed Grotto on the northern border of the King's College campus, at the crest of a steep hill on West North Street between River Street and North Main Street.
City and state police returned to the scene of the accident Saturday morning. State police marked parts of the eastbound lanes of West North Street with orange spray paint, apparently reconstructing the accident.
A state trooper marked three orange dots in West North Street near a fire hydrant at the corner with North Franklin Street.
Nearby, a teddy bear wrapped in plastic sat in the tree lawn. It wore a plastic Wilkes-Barre police badge and held a handwritten sign reading, May God Bless You! State police said someone placed the bear there Saturday morning.
Salavantis said no search warrants had been issued as of Saturday, as police were still seeking the vehicle involved. She said she has assigned Assistant District Attorney Alexis Favello to investigate the hit and run.
Wilkes-Barre police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 826-8106 or 826-8114 and ask for Officer John Majikes, Officer Erika Oswald or Detective Chuck Jensen. For his obituary, see Page 8A.
The accident is the latest in a string of fatal hit and runs involving pedestrians this year.
It's sad how many cases we have that are dealing with either hit and runs or people under the influence seriously injuring or killing someone behind the wheel, Salavantis said. There are no words… It's very sad. This is a sad day.
Other hit and runs include:
• On June 15, 20-year-old Corey Ryan of Wilkes-Barre was struck by a vehicle as he crossed South River Street near West Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre. Ryan, who was using a wheelchair when he was struck, died two weeks later from injuries sustained in the accident. Danielle R. Castrignano, 20, of Kingston, surrendered to police the day after the accident and was charged with striking Ryan.
• On July 24, 19-year-old Rebecca McCallick was struck and killed in front of 199 Hazle Ave. by a vehicle city police allege was driven by Daniel Loughnane, 40, of Hanover Township. Loughnane surrendered to police on Tuesday and was charged with leaving the scene after striking McCallick.