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Boy injured by alleged hit-and-run cyclist

KING5: Boy injured by alleged hit-and-run cyclist

by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News
Posted on November 16, 2009 at 6:29 AM
Updated today at 6:40 AM

SEATTLE - A 6 year-old Seattle boy is home from the hospital today, but may require reconstructive surgery, after a bicyclist struck him at a busy downtown intersection.

Noni Echo-Hawk-Lopez is a reserved boy to begin with, his parents said, but now he’s not even allowed to talk because of a fractured and swollen jaw.

Doctors at Harborview Medical Center "had to completely wire his jaw shut," said his mother, Abigail Echo-Hawk. "You tell your kids to look both ways before crossing the street, and be aware [of cars], but I’ve never mentioned watch out for a bicycle."

Noni was walking with his older brother and father Chris Lopez Friday night outside Pike Place Market. 911 logs indicated paramedics responding to the incident at 6:41 p.m. The three were crossing the north side of the intersection of Pike Street and First Avenue at the time, said Lopez.

"The bike came out of nowhere, just flying down the street," said Lopez, "and then before I could reach for Noni, he was gone. He just did a 360[-degree flip] in the air."

"My son... his mouth... I mean, it was horrible. Blood started flying everywhere."

Lopez said what happened next was even more shocking -- the man allegedly picked up his bike and started riding away.
"I could just see everybody stop and freeze," Lopez said. "Nobody could believe that he got up to run."

But then, about 15 bystanders chased the cyclist to the southeast corner of the intersection, "ganged up on him and tackled him and held him until police arrived," he said. "I thought it was awesome."

"For them to come together as a community and to ensure that he was going to be taken to jail and he was going to have to answer for he had done, made me think that’s why I live here," said Echo-Hawk, who also praised the police and paramedic response.

Noni is expected to make a full recovery, though it may require additional surgery, said his parents.

And while Echo-Hawk said the cyclist bears the brunt of the blame, she hopes they can convince the city to make the crosswalks clearer at that intersection.

"He should have stopped. He should have watched. That responsibility does fall on him," she said. "But the city also needs to take a look at why don’t we have lines on that crosswalk, what could we have done to protect this little boy who at no point should ever have to be put through something like this."