MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After an 11-year-old girl was killed in Whitehaven when she was hit by a car in the middle of the road, we are learning more information from her family.
Family friends said Rakayla Blount was crossing the road to get to her father across the street when she was hit, and he watched the whole thing unfold in front of him.
A neighbor said she can't get what she saw Tuesday out of her mind.
“It seemed like everything just stopped," Pamela Mays said. "It was quiet. I was looking just being in shock. I couldn’t move."
She said she saw the child crossing Millbranch Road when a car came out of nowhere.
“It just knocked that child clean across the highway," Mays said. "I’m talking, it was scary. I was out of breath, shocked."
She said she was devastated to see everything.
“I watched them pick the baby up," Mays said. “She didn’t have on shoes. They hit her at her shoes. It was scary."
In a video from Tuesday, you can see the smashed windshield and a lot of police investigating. The girl did not survive.
Police arrested Keara Williams for driving without a valid license.
Family said 11-year-old Blount was a student at Havenview Middle School. Lasonya Newsome’s son went to school with Blount.
“He said she was fun, a dancer, she liked to keep everybody happy," Newsome said of her son's words about Blount.
She said grief counselors helped students talk through what happened.
"He still has questions, of course," she said. "He’s 11 years old, and this is a tragedy."
Shelby County Schools provided the following statement on Wednesday about Blunt's passing.
“We’re deeply saddened by the tragic incident involving a Havenview Middle School student yesterday. Our thoughts are with the child’s family, and our focus is providing grief counseling and support for the students and staff at the school today and in the coming days during this difficult time. Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray held a moment of silence during Tuesday evening’s Board meeting and extends his sincere condolences to the family.”
As for Blount's loved ones, they are taking it hard, especially her father, who was there when it happened. They said they want to remember Blount as a little girl full of energy.
“I could have knocked down one of these trees with my bare hands, I was so angry, so confused, so hurt, believe me," said Erma Turner, Rakayla's great-grandmother. "But today, when the sun came, my peace came and I got joy.”
Neighbors of the area said they've always had concerns about how fast people drive there. They hope this will make schools think about putting in a crossing guard.
The family said they will honor Blount on Wednesday at 7 p.m. with a balloon release in the same spot where the accident happened.