1 child killed, 2 injured in Hwy 72 hit-and-run

Officials said 3 children were critically injured. (Source: WAFF)
Officials said 3 children were critically injured. (Source: WAFF)
8-year-old Weixi was killed as a result of his injuries. (Source: Family)
8-year-old Weixi was killed as a result of his injuries. (Source: Family)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - One child was killed and two children were injured after a wreck involving a vehicle on Highway 72 in Huntsville late Sunday night.

It happened before 11 p.m. on eastbound Highway 72 East, just east of Memorial Parkway. The victims, along with other family members, were walking eastbound on the shoulder of the roadway when a dark colored sports utility vehicle veered right and struck the three children.

Witnesses say the family was walking home, like they always do, from the restaurant they own, Meteor Buffet, when the children were hit. Other family members, including at least one parent, were with the children, and they were not injured.

Officials at the scene said all three children were transported to Huntsville Hospital with critical injuries. Weixi Zhang, the 8-year-old boy, was pronounced dead after being transported by HEMSI. His two sisters, Weiling and Weizing Zhang, were released from Huntsville Hospital on Monday. 13-year-old Weiling had leg injuries; 10-year-old Weizing had head injuries that required staples.

Police said the driver of the vehicle drove off after the incident. They are looking for a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle with damage to the front. Witnesses said it looked like a dark green or dark colored Ford Explorer type of vehicle.

Witnesses also said the driver stopped at Washington Street before continuing to drive away.

Huntsville Police Traffic Homicide Investigators and Crime Scene Investigators are continuing investigation with the incident. Police want to talk to the driver and they are asking for he or she to turn himself or herself in. Investigators towed a vehicle believed connected with the incident Monday afternoon.

Late Monday afternoon, Huntsville police arrested a suspect, LaTonya Denise Haley, and charged her with vehicular homicide, among other charges.

All three children attended the Academy for Science and Foreign Language.

The Huntsville City School District confirmed there are counselors at ASFL to talk to the students about the hit-and-run accident involving their classmates.The district held a faculty meeting before school started to let everyone know what was going on after they learned about the death of one of their students and severe injuries to two other students.

The child who died as a result of his injuries, Weixi Zhang, was a third-grader at ASFL.

His teacher also previously had the two other victims in class, so she knows the family well.

Officials and teachers are sending a letter home to all students' parents this afternoon to inform them of what happened.

They will keep counselors on campus until further notice.

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