LORAIN — A Lorain boy who police and witnesses suspect was among a group of teens playing chicken with passing motorists was in serious condition at a Cleveland hospital after being hit by a car Thursday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Leif Hammonds, 16, was hit while walking westbound across Broadway near East 32nd Street, said his sister, Donzeliegha Hammonds.
Witnesses said Leif and another teenager were almost across the street when Leif was struck by a Saturn sedan that was headed south in the outside lane.
Several witnesses told police that Leif and the other teen appeared to be playing “chicken” with the passing vehicles, running in and out of traffic before Leif was hit.
But Leif’s sister said her brother and her nephew — the other teen — weren’t the type to do something so brazen.
“They wouldn’t do that,” Hammonds said. “They were just on their way to the park to play basketball; they come across the street all the time — it’s the first time they’ve ever been hit. Someone just wasn’t paying attention — either the driver or my brother.”
Jeff Tucker said he was driving south on Broadway when one of the teens ran in front of his car.
“I almost hit the first kid when he went across, so I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw (Leif) get hit by the car behind me,” Tucker said. “He was the second one to go across. He flipped into the air, hit the windshield, and was almost hit by a car in the other lane, too.”
Tucker said a group of four or five teens were on the east side of Broadway, cheering on Leif and the other teen just before Leif was hit.
At least two other witnesses provided police with statements similar to Tucker’s, but a Lorain police officer said the incident is still being investigated, though it “appears the children were playing in the road.”
Leif was taken by ambulance to CHP Regional Medical Center, then flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.