ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The family of 12-year-old Akeelah Jackson says doctors have told them there’s nothing else they can do to help their critically injured daughter.
Her father is asking for prayers in hopes his daughter can pull through after being struck by a St. Louis County police SUV in pursuit of a suspect in north St. Louis Monday.
“She’s an angel,” said Willie Jackson, Akeelah’s father. “She’s also a fighter.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the accident and say Akeelah darted out in front of the county police vehicle as the officer pursued a suspect across the city-county border.
The officer was pursuing a vehicle that displayed a license plate not registered to it, according to police.
The police vehicle is equipped with technology that allowed the department to determine the officer hit a top speed of 59 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone during the 32-second pursuit.
The police vehicle did not have lights or sirens activated.
A St. Louis County police spokesman says it’s not unusual for an officer to wait to turn on lights and sirens as they catch up to the vehicle they’re pursuing.
When asked about the officer’s actions, Jackson said, “Right now, I need prayers for my daughter and that’s it.”
Neighbors say the stretch of Halls Ferry Road near Canaan Avenue is known for speeders.
“People come through here zooming and just running stop signs all day and all night,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified.
April Kelly lives a few feet from where Akeelah was struck.
“I’m scared to cross the street,” she said.
Kelly will also honor the request of Akeelah’s father.
“I am praying for her strength and that all is well and hope she pulls through,” she said.
A spokesman for the county police department expressed condolences to Akeelah’s family on behalf of the department. Meanwhile, investigators continue to ask for witnesses while they determine if the officer’s actions were appropriate.