Grandmother speaks out after man charged in hit and run that killed 1-year-old grandson


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Remnants of Saturday night’s deadly crash on Jennings Station Road still linger while a family is still grieving.

Akkiaas Harris said she stood in her doorway Saturday night to watch her daughter take two of her kids to her car across Jennings Station Road. She said she usually walked across the street with two of them and then drove back across the street to buckle in the other four.

Shikela Lewis, 29, is a mother of six. She walked out of her mother’s house on Jennings Station Road with her 4-month-old baby, Nala Hawkins, and her one-year-old son, Xayvionis Hawkins. When she stood in the center of the road, between two sets of yellow lines, Harris watched a car slam into her daughter and two grandkids.

“Her cries, I can still hear it, her scream to try to protect her kids. I can hear it, I can see them, I can see my grandson, who is literally broken up,” Harris said.

“No matter what family member or friend leaves my house, I stand at my door. I’ve been staying on this block for 11 years right here and I watched so many traffic accidents, so many people get hit, but to see your own, literally see your own get hit, go up in the air, come down.”

St. Louis County Police say 22-year-old Raymond Bryant Jr. was speeding in his Pontiac when he hit them. Xayvionis died on the scene. He was supposed to celebrate his second birthday on Monday.

Nala was not injured but taken to the hospital as a precaution. Shikela is still in the hospital, her mother said. She is recovering from a broken right femur and damaged rotator cuff, among other injuries. She had to tell Shikela that her son was killed and it was the hardest thing she has ever done.

“To tell my child that her son is no longer with us and her, because some idiot wants to drive down the center lane and literally just hit them,” Harris said.

Harris said there is more comfort knowing Bryant was caught.

“Raymond Bryant Jr., I don’t know you young man, but I’m going to seek justice to the fullest of the law,” she said.

Harris said she will be involved in trying to get measures into place to stop speeding including adding more street lights, speed bumps, or roundabouts after it took the life of her grandson.

“I called him ‘Legs’ because he was bowlegged, this is my ‘Legs,’ he had the brightest smile,” Harris said. “His eyes are captivating. His smile would just brighten your day.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses and to help with expenses while Shikela recovers in the hospital.

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