St. Louis police looking for hit ‘n run driver after toddler nearly killed over the weekend

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis police are looking for a woman who left the scene of an accident that nearly killed a 23-month-old boy.

The accident happened near the Fox Theater and Powell Symphony Hall around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a busy show night.

The boy's family is asking for help finding that driver.

Grandma was babysitting Demetrice “DJ” Smith. They were hanging out at the Grand Center Arts Academy Plaza. It was time to go. As DJ was getting into their ride, the vehicle got hit from behind. Fortunately, DJ was not killed.

“This car just came behind us and went ‘boom,’” his grandmother said.

DJ fell to the ground. The parked car was pushed forward. A tire rolled over the toddler’s hip and crushed his pelvic bones, his mother said.

Police and people in line at the theaters actually chased the woman, who drove off from the scene and tried to get her to stop, his grandmother said.

The woman just kept driving.

“She might actually have kids her own self and that’s what you do, you just leave, leave a baby on the curb,” said Kathy Woodley, DJ’s mother.

DJ may need a brace to stand let alone run one day, she said. He underwent extensive surgery Tuesday – several hours long.

During an interview with Fox 2/News 11, his family was called back into the hospital for an update. It was good news. The surgery was a success.

“He is going to require so much therapy. He has to have a screw in each hip, pins in each of his pelvic bones, with a bar across that will be on the outside of his body,” Woodley said.

Though finding the driver won’t undo the harm to DJ, it matters to the family. They hope someone comes forward.

“She shouldn’t even be able to sleep at night,” Woodley said.

St. Louis police were looking for a silver Chrysler Pacifica and had surveillance footage of the vehicle, she said.

Fox 2/New 11 asked police for the footage and any other information that could help find the suspect. As of Tuesday afternoon, police have not responded.

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