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On Wednesday night, an 11-year-old boy died at a hospital after he had been hit by a car in a hit-and-run accident and then lay in the street in critical condition as motorists passed him by.

The boy, identified as Maurice A. Richards, was finally taken to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis after a motorist saw cars driving around him and stopped to help. The driver, Willie D. Beard, blocked traffic from getting near Richards and called 911 for help.

A memorial for Maurice A. Richards quickly grew overnight. The boy's mother, Erica Steele, clutches his black shoe. (Facebook/Tbaby Oohwee)

A memorial for Maurice A. Richards quickly grew overnight. The boy’s mother, Erica Steele, clutches his black shoe. (Facebook/Tbaby Oohwee)

“I held his hands and I started praying for him,” she said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Beard says a young man knelt down beside her and began to pray, too.

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“We told him to breathe,” she said. “He started gasping for air. I told him that he would be OK. I told him to take small breaths.”

Detective Jason Hicks said that family members say Richards was simply trying to cross the street when he was hit and that police do not yet have any leads on the car that hit the boy. “We have no vehicle description, no suspects as of right now,” Hicks said.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477. A $5,000 reward is being offered.

Hicks implored anyone with information to come forward and also called out anyone who drove by and ignored Richards’ plight. “Just for the fact that they’re seeing someone lying in the street and didn’t render aid … they need to be held accountable. We as citizens of East St. Louis need to start taking a more serious role in things that go on,” he said.

Maurice was described by teachers as a hard-working boy who loved football and spending time with his five siblings.

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The boy’s grandmother, Gertrude Richards, said that witnesses do not know how long he was in the street, but his clothes were soaked through from the rain.

“They said one lady was praying over him, and she asked other people to join and they wouldn’t join,” she said. “I guess they just drove by. They had to stop another car from almost hitting him.”

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Maurice A. Richards, 11, was a fourth-grader described as hard-working and happy.

Maurice A. Richards, 11, was a fourth-grader described as hard-working and happy.

 

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