Child Killed After Truck Hit Him

Child Killed After Truck Hit Him
By: Holly Brantley & Heartland News

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - The death of a six-year-old Poplar Bluff boy Friday night may not have necessarily been the fault of the boy or the truck driver who hit him.
Some of the boy's neighbors blame the intersection in which he was killed.
Lucas Hawkins, 6, died Friday night after a truck driving in reverse hit him.
Police say Hawkins was playing in the road at the time.
Some people in the neighborhood say this particular intersection is dangerous, and they feel something needs to be done or another child could die.
A tearful Russell Soens talks about the tragic death of his young neighbor.  Lucas Hawkins died Friday when a 19-year-old driver backed over him as he played at the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Cravens Lane in Poplar Bluff.
"It's a close knit neighborhood.  Right now it's a neighborhood that's had a wet blanket thrown on it," Soens said.  

"He was just a good young man, always smiling, always smiling, just a good little boy," said John Moon.  Moon owns the property and trailer where young Hawkins lived. 

He says the children often played near the road.  He feels they had grown used to the many cars that pass through and others agree.
"We had just missed them; they were in the intersection with a wheelchair.  Him and his brother and another child was in the intersection.  That's a bad intersection.  It happened not even a moment after we passed him," Karen Soens said.

The Soens and Moon feel the intersection is another accident waiting to happen.  Residents say a nearby industrial park brings heavy traffic, including semi trucks over a gravel hill.  Soens says the gravel makes it difficult for the large vehilces to stop.

"The try to make both hills at the same time.  They'll stall out at the gravel and have to back up.  That becomes scary," Soens said.
"I hear people locking them up on the street when they're coming by here because they're coming too fast," Moon said.
Soens says he's asked the city to pave the road for over 25 years, but it's unclear where that responsibility lies.
"Half of this being county and half being city, it's a catch 22," Soens said.
Bottom line, Soens and his wife hope something can be done to make this intersection safer.
"A stop sign at least and get the gravel off the road.  There's no stop sign, no speed limit sign," Karen Soens said.
"Enough is enough.  Please finish the road," Russell Soens said.
Meanwhile, folks here ask drivers to use extra caution while passing through the neighborhood, hoping another child won't lose his/her life.
Neighbors say the intersection also serves as a bus stop for as many as 15 to 20 kids.
Heartland News has not been able to reach city officials for comment.  No charges have been filed against the 19-year-old driver.