Watch CBS News

Heartbreak For Mother Of 8-Year-Old Killed By Hit-Run Driver In Overbrook

By Anita Oh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The intersection of 63rd Street and Lansdowne Avenue was once just a neighborhood cross street for Ayesha Poole.

Now, it's the site of inexplicable loss and heartbreak.

"I called her Mommy's angel and now she really is an angel," Poole said through tears. "That was my baby, my heart – and she's gone! She's gone."

Just after 3:15 Friday afternoon, a car hit 8-year-old Jayanna Powell as she was walking home from school with her three siblings.

Her 12-year-old brother was holding her hand at the time.

"My oldest son got knocked over from the impact. He was holding her hand – they were crossing the street. The car ran a red light and smacked both of them," Poole told Eyewitness News.

READ: MontCo School Honors Memory Of 3 Children It Lost To Cancer

But after the impact, the driver never stopped.

Meantime, paramedics rushed Jayanna to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she later died.

"They're destroyed. My son keeps saying he misses his sister. My oldest son blames himself. My oldest daughter can't even talk. They understand their sister is dead, that she's not coming back," Poole said.

Even though the speed limit on 63rd Street is only 30 miles-an-hour, many say high speed in this neighborhood is a major problem – with cars flying down this road as if it's a raceway.

Philadelphia police began to ticket more speeding drivers after the hit-and-run – but the Powell family is only interested in one of them.

"You hit an innocent baby. Turn yourself in. please. Turn yourself in. That's all I want is justice for my daughter," Poole said.

READ: Mummers Clubs Come Together To Give Back To Homeless Veterans

And to remember the bright, bubbly heart of the family, loved ones planned to hold a candlelight vigil for Jayanna at the accident scene at Saturday afternoon.

They will also release balloons in her honor: pink and purple, her favorite colors.

"Anybody that met her loved her. She always brought a smile to your face," Poole said.

Jayanna was a student at Lewis Cassidy Elementary School. The Philadelphia School District released released a statement regarding the tragedy.

"The entire School District of Philadelphia grieves the passing of one of our beloved students, Jayanna Powell. We send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and entire Cassidy school community in this time of great need. The School District will continue to cooperate with the Philadelphia Police Department as they continue their investigation." Dr. William Hite

Police are looking for a gray or silver Nissan Altima or Maxima. It should have extensive front-end damage to the headlight and the grille.

They are checking to see if surveillance video in the area can help catch the suspect.

Anyone with information should call Philadelphia Police and can remain anonymous: 215.686.TIPS.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.