NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk mom wants justice for her 7-year-old daughter.
Sierra Coleman calls her daughter Jailynn A’Rihana Santiful an “amazing child” and “sister”. Saiful was a rising second grader in the gifted program at Chesterfield Academy.
“She was fearless!” Colman explained.
At 7 years old, she was a vegetarian with dreams of becoming a veterinarian because she cared so much about animals.
“I’m very heartbroken that this happened to someone who just really loved her life,” Colman said.
On September 3rd, Coleman got a call from her oldest daughter saying Jailynn was hit by a car outside of their Crown Point Townhouse.
“I wasn’t physically there,” explains Coleman. She was away at a graduation brunch in Downtown Norfolk. She rushed to meet her family at the hospital, where her daughter died within the hour.
Coleman now wants the city to add speed bumps to the neighborhood.
“I just want the city to do something. She was hit in front of our house… in front of her sisters.” Coleman explained.
Witnesses and neighbors tell Coleman the driver stayed on the scene until police arrived. Then the driver left the scene after an altercation or argument.
10 On Your Side requested the incident report from the Norfolk Police Department to better understand what happened at the scene. However, the Norfolk police spokesperson sent us a heavily redacted report.
The months of waiting have Coleman searching for answers.
“Jailynn doesn’t have a voice. I’ve been wanting to let the community to know, Jailynn’s voice was stolen from her,” Coleman said.
The Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney Ramin Fatehi confirms the Commonwealth’s Office is reviewing the “auto-pedestrian fatality”.
“Our condolences go out to her whole family,” said Fatehi.
Two prosecutors with the office go to every auto fatality scene and Fatehi tells 10 On Your Side a prosecutor from the office was at the deadly accident on Pickett Road. He would not share specific details on this case.
He said with auto-pedestrian fatalities, the state must determine if the driver was impaired, distracted or speeding. There must also be evidence of criminal negligence and/or recklessness.
“Auto fatalities cases are much more difficult than your average case. Sometimes they are the most difficult cases that we deal with,” Fatehi explained.
Fatehi shares that he was the auto-fatality prosecutor before becoming the Commonwealth’s Attorney and said that these kinds of cases can be the most difficult.
“They are some of the most emotionally difficult cases because the victims are almost always true victims,” Fatehi explained “We take the time necessary to make the right decision. We’d rather be right than to be fast.”
10 On Your Side reached out to the city and VDOT to see what the next steps are to add a speed bump to the area. Coleman plans to speak at the next city council meeting.
The City is planning to conduct a speed study. Due to the upcoming holidays, it will take a couple of months to conduct. Once the City has that study back, staff will review the information and make a recommendation based on the data. If the data confirms speeding, staff will work with the community to determine if and where speed bumps would go.Kelly R. Straub Assistant Director Department of Communications & Marketing