CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A passing vehicle struck an 11-year-old boy on Interstate 77 as he tried to flag down help for his mother, who was being beaten by her boyfriend, police said.
The boy, whose identity was not immediately released, died Sunday afternoon at Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital.
It happened just before 12:15 a.m. in the southbound lanes between the Leon Sullivan Way exit and the Brooks Street onramp.
Lynitrah M. Woodson, 30, had been driving in the far left lane when she got into an argument with her boyfriend, Ethan Samuel Chic-Colbert, 21.
Chic-Colbert started hitting Woodson, forcing her to swerve into the median, Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said.
Their vehicle, an Oldsmobile Alero, came to rest alongside a concrete barrier separating traffic. Chic-Colbert then pulled Woodson from the vehicle and continued to hit her, witnesses told police.
There were four children in the vehicle at the time. One of them, the 11-year-old boy, got out to help his mother, Williams said. He then crossed the interstate to the far right lane to try to flag down help.
The driver of a Mercury Grand Marquis, who also was heading south, saw the stopped car and tried to avoid it, police said.
"He went over to the right to avoid the car in the median but he didn't see the little boy standing in the road," said Cpl. Brian Jones, an officer investigating the crash.
Williams said the Mercury clipped the boy. The vehicle's driver, whose name was not released, stopped immediately.
"It was more of a glancing blow, but even that is catastrophic for a child," Williams said. "I've seen some pretty bad things in my career but this one is definitely one of the worst.
"Words can't describe it."
The boy was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital. He was pronounced dead just before 6 p.m. Sunday, Williams said.
Police said there were multiple occupants in the striking vehicle, but that none of them were injured. The driver of the Mercury was not charged.
Williams said one of the children in the Oldsmobile suffered minor injuries in the fight between Chic-Colbert and Woodson.
"This is a prime example of people not thinking about their actions and how they affect other people, especially in domestic situations," Williams said.
Chic-Colbert was charged with child neglect causing injury Sunday morning. Kanawha Magistrate Julie Yeager arraigned him by video. He is being held at South Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.
Officers were conducting an accident reconstruction Sunday afternoon.
Williams said officers were consulting with county prosecutors on the issue of upgrading the charges.
@tagline:Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.