4-year-old girl killed in hit-and-run crash in Milwaukee

'Turn yourself in — do yourself a favor': Local officials call on driver to come forward

A Milwaukee Police Department vehicle
A flag is reflected in the window of a Milwaukee Police Department vehicle Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Photo 

Milwaukee Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who killed a 4-year-old girl Tuesday morning. 

The girl was crossing the street with her mother when they were struck by the car around 11:30 a.m. on the city’s north side. Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the mother was injured in the crash but survived. 

Johnson, who has made combating reckless driving a focus of his administration, sounded furious while speaking to reporters about the girl’s death.

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“It’s warm outside. (Children) should be able to go outside and play or cross the street with their parents without having to worry about somebody hitting them and then just leaving the scene,” Johnson said, his voice rising. “That is garbage, it’s garbage. It’s bulls— and it should not happen.”

“They (the driver) just kept on going as if they hit a pothole, like they ran over a box, like it was nothing,” he added. “And now there’s a family…here in this community whose lives are turned upside down.”

The Milwaukee Police Department is investigating the crash but did not have a vehicle description to share with the public Tuesday afternoon.

“The Milwaukee Police Department will not stop at anything to bring this particular situation to justice,” Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said.

Local leaders asked the public to help identify the suspect and also called on the driver to turn themself in.

“Turn yourself in — do yourself a favor,” Norman said. 

Police did not release the names of the girl or her mother. Norman said police would share more information with the public when they have it.

The crash is the latest example of the reckless driving problem in Milwaukee, an issue that has left community leaders grasping for answers.

“The impact that this has across the community — this reverberates throughout the community when we have incidents like this occur,” Milwaukee Office of Community Wellness and Safety Director Ashanti Hamilton said. “People should be able to cross the street, go to the store, enjoy the community without the fear of something like this happening.” 

A recent Wisconsin Policy Forum report found traffic fatalities across Wisconsin, not including Milwaukee County, fell by approximately 36.1 percent from 2002 to 2022. In Milwaukee County, traffic fatalities increased by 113.5 percent during that same period.

The city plans to spend around $86 million on street safety projects this year to address the issue. Local leaders are also trying to curb the problem by passing ordinances and working with state lawmakers to create harsher penalties for offenders.