CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – The Charlotte community is mourning the death of a 14-year-old boy, who was hit and killed while trying to cross an intersection on his bike.
Someone left flowers and a sign, saying, “Gone too soon…Rest easy Jaden.”
WJZY spoke with a young man who witnessed the crash and says he tried to save the boy’s life.
Dorriel Campbell takes an extra beat before stepping out into the intersection of Freedom Drive and Berryhill Road in west Charlotte.
“I can barely talk about it now,” Campbell said.
The 20-year-old was walking home from work Sunday afternoon when he saw a young boy on a bike ride get hit by an oncoming car. Campbell says he tried to warn the boy but it was too late.
“I asked him could he see me, could he hear me? He tried to look at me, he tried to even speak or he tried to make a sound but he couldn’t even look at me,” said Campbell.
Campbell says he didn’t know 14-year old Jaden Slade, who died at the hospital, but had seen him around the neighborhood.
“When he was laying on the ground, I could just imagine that was me. I lost a little sister once and I just tried to save another life before someone lost another sibling,” he said.
Police say Slade was crossing within a crosswalk, but the pedestrian crossing signal indicated not to cross.
They say the elderly driver of the Honda accord had a green light and didn’t appear to be speeding. He has not been charged.
“I’ve ridden through that very intersection with children before,” said Bethanie Johnson, the director of Charlotte Bike Camp for Kids.
Johnson advocates for making local roads safer by educating cyclists and drivers.
“Freedom Drive is not a safe road to travel for a lot of people. It’s not a safe road for pedestrians, it’s not a safe place with cyclists. It’s not a safe place for drivers. People use it like it’s… like it’s a highway,” Johnson said.
WJZY looked at the numbers and found fatal pedestrian crashes in Mecklenburg County were among the highest in the state.