Two children were killed and another four children were hospitalized with injuries when a car plowed into them and fled the scene in South Florida on Monday, authorities said.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that it was investigating what happened outside an apartment building in Wilton Manors, along with the Wilton Manors Police and Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.
The children's ages ranged from two to 10 years old, police said. Steven Gollan, a battalion chief with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, said at a news conference Monday night that the hospitalized children were “severely injured."
“This is truly a horrific event and especially so close to the holidays. I can’t imagine what these families are going through," Gollan said. "My thoughts and prayers are with them."
Residents said the children were in the parking lot waiting to be picked up. Harriet Lewis, who lives nearby the crash scene, said she ran downstairs and saw the victims lying on the street. Bystanders worked to pull the car off a child who was pinned underneath.
"I was just holding her hand and letting her know just hear my voice, don't go, don't go to sleep," Lewis told NBC 6. "Just hear my voice."
The Wilton Manors Police Department tweeted that a family reunification center was set up at the City Hall Emergency Operation Center.
"Our Island City is heartbroken, and our police department stands with you as we support these families in this time of need," Wilton Manors Police Chief Gary Blocker said in a statement.
Residents in the neighborhood just east of I-95 and south of Oakland Park expressed anger and frustration at the horrific event.
“They’re just racing,” said Wilton Manors resident Ron Moore, who lives on Powerline Road where the tragedy happened.
Moore said many drivers pay little attention to the speed limit.
“From Oakland Park to 19th Street, it's a drag strip every single night — every day,” he said.
Authorities said they hope to find a resident whose video system captured footage of the car that ran into the kids.
“If you have a Ring camera on your house, please take a look at it and call Crimestoppers,” BSO spokesperson Miranda Grossman said.
Anyone with more information can contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.
"It's just sad," Lewis said. "But he's out there ... It's awful."
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