Updated: May 16, 2014 6:19AM
GARY — After her husband was killed in Chicago, Monik Herron moved her five children three months ago to Gary, away from a neighborhood where she saw dead bodies almost every day.
“It was just too much, I needed a safe place for my children,” Herron said Monday, surrounded by police chaplains who sat silently, listening as she spoke of her son, her loss and her anger at the hit-and-run driver who killed her oldest son, Malik, 13, Saturday night.
“I moved because of him,” Herron said, saying she worried about the constant exposure to violence and Malik’s search for a father figure.
On Saturday night, as Malik, his friends and some siblings walked back from playing in a nearby park, a speeding truck crossed the road and jumped the curb, striking Malik and a 17-year-old boy.
The older teen, his arm dangling, ran to Herron’s home two blocks away, barely coherent enough to describe what had happened, Herron told the chaplains. Malik died a short time later at the hospital.
Police Chief Wade Ingram and Deputy Chief Larry McKinley joined the chaplains in the hour-long visit. Ingram told Herron that police have a truck they believe was the one that struck her son and may know the identity of the driver.
Police sources said the truck was towed from a Glen Park business to the Gary police garage on Sunday and matches the description given by witnesses.
Herron and her children are staying at her mother’s home in the Glen Park area, she said, because the other children aren’t comfortable being so close to the site where Malik died.
“Malik would say he was bored and I’d tell him, ‘good!’” his mother said.
In the new neighborhood, she didn’t hear gunfire every night and there weren’t suspicious men loitering at every corner. On Saturday, she had given the children money for snacks and sent them to play.
“One guy who was walking heard the truck come from behind him, he thought it hit a garbage can, then he saw Malik,” Herron said. “I don’t know if he (driver) was drinking, but even if you were drunk, once you hit, you should stop.”
When she visited the scene, Herron said she didn’t see skid marks.
On Monday, each chaplain offered Herron and her family words of comfort or a prayer. Herron, whose voice faltered only once as she shared her emotions, broke down in tears when Pastor Kenneth Kelley delivered his message in song from the hymn, “God Will Take Care of You.”
“All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.”
Sgt. Dawn Westerfield is investigating the fatal accident. Anyone with information can contact her at 881-7485.