The mother of an 8-year-old girl struck and killed by an SUV while crossing the street near her home in Brooklyn says she has been "ripped from my head to my foot" by the death of her baby girl.
"I'm empty. My heart is ripped out," said Claire Williams, a mother of three. "I don't have any being left in my body and I'm crying out for someone to hear."
Her youngest daughter, Jadann Williams, was killed by a Toyota SUV while crossing East 22nd Street mid-block near Ditmas Avenue in Flatbush around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The little girl lived on the cul-de-sac. Responding emergency officers found her lying in the road with severe head trauma. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Her mother says she has all her daughter's school supplies prepared to return to class; it's difficult to imagine she won't be returning.
"Dear God I'm asking for someone to just help me because I need this help because my baby girl has been taken away from me," Claire Williams said. "Ripped from out under me. I cannot believe it."
The 35-year-old driver of the SUV stayed at the scene. It's not clear if charges will be filed. Police said a 25-year-old man who lives in the neighborhood was arrested on an assault charge for attacking the driver after the fatal crash. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, a burgeoning memorial grows on the street for Jadann Williams. As the neighborhood leaves messages of comfort and symbols of prayer, the flickering candles remind Claire Williams of her little angel who lit up the close-knit community.
"This little girl ... full of life this little girl. She was everything," her heartbroken mother said. "She was so beautiful. She comes around she put a smile on everyone's face. She was vibrant. The other day she say to me, 'Mom, do you know I'm going to be a star?'"
Despite the street being a dead-end, neighbor and family friend Tanisha Brown said vehicles constantly speed through.
"We've been asking for a speed bump on this block, and this is what is has come to?" said Brown.
The Department of Transportation says it will review the street for possible safety improvements.
Brown said children who live on the block play on the dead-end street because there's no other place to go.
"They all play together. There's so many kids on this block that ride their bike up and down," said Brown, who said her children are best friends with Jadann Williams.
Jadann Williams was the baby of the family and a talented young basketball player, according to Brown.