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Affidavit: Man charged in deadly hit-and-run said he didn’t realize he ran over child

Marcus Downey was arrested for failure to stop at an accident that resulted in death and...
Marcus Downey was arrested for failure to stop at an accident that resulted in death and driving with a suspended license after his pickup hit a 4-year-old boy crossing an intersection with his mother early Monday morning (March 8) in downtown Wichita.(Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Witness accounts and an investigation from Wichita police provide further details of a March 8 hit-and-run in downtown Wichita that killed a 4-year-old boy.

Last week, a judge charged 36-year-old Marcus Downey with fleeing an accident scene and driving with a suspended license. Police arrested Downey March 8 after his pickup hit a 4-year-old boy crossing an intersection of Washington and Waterman with his mother. The boy died from his injuries at a local hospital. After the collision, police said Downey did not immediately stop and left the scene.

An affidavit from Sedgwick County District Court includes witness accounts of what happened on the morning of March 8. One witness reported seeing a truck hit a small boy as it turned left onto Waterman. The witness reported seeing a woman pushing a stroller walking with a little boy, crossing from the east to west curbs of Washington. The witness said the truck didn’t stop and continued westbound on Waterman.

The affidavit said a Wichita police officer contacted a bus driver with the city who said her bus is equipped with a video recording system that may have recorded what happened. The driver said she was eastbound on Waterman in the curb lane when she brought her bus to a stop at the railroad crossing just west of Mosley. She said she saw a woman pushing a stroller and walking beside a small boy, no older than 5, crossing Washington at the intersection in the crosswalk.

“As the (woman) and child were crossing in front of a stopped semi truck, facing northbound on Washington, the child began to walk faster and get farther out in front of (the woman),” the affidavit said of the bus driver’s account. “As the child continued past the semi truck and was crossing in front of the left turn lane for northbound traffic on Washington to turn onto westbound Waterman, (the bus driver) observed a gold or tan Chevrolet Avalanche traveling northbound on Washington turn left onto Waterman, striking the child.”

The bus driver told police the Avalanche stopped on Waterman for less than a minute, then continued westbound on Waterman. The bus driver said she watched the Avalanche continue westbound on Waterman, go past Mosley and then turn into a parking lot on the south side of Waterman. The driver reported losing sight of the Avalanche and then seeing it reappear northbound in the same parking lot and stopping at the driveway that leads back onto Waterman. The bus driver observed the woman with the small boy pick him up from the street and walk to the southwest corner of Washington and Waterman, the affidavit said.

Police contacted another witness with a similar account. The driver of a semi said he was stopped at a red light in the inside lane next to the left turn lane for northbound Washington and that he could see the crosswalk from where he was stopped. The semi driver said he was stopped for about 30 seconds when he noticed the woman and the child in the crosswalk. He told police he saw the traffic signal of the northbound left-turn lane turn to a green arrow and also noticed the crosswalk signal for crossing Washington was a red hand. The driver said he looked in his rearview mirror and saw a Chevy Avalanche northbound in the left lane, traveling toward the intersection. The driver said the Avalanche did not stop prior to making its turn and hit the child.

The semi driver reported the Avalanche stopping briefly before continuing west on Waterman.

In his interview with police, Downey said he was running late for work, driving the Chevrolet Avalanche that belonged to his girlfriend. The affidavit said that Downey told a detective that he took Washington all the way and stopped for the red light on Waterman. The affidavit said he couldn’t remember if he was the only vehicle in the turn lane or if he was behind another vehicle, but he said he was looking at the light and when the left-turn arrow turned green, he checked the intersection and proceeded to make his left turn onto Waterman. Downey said he had a clear view of the intersection and nothing was blocking his view.

The affidavit said Downey told a detective that just before he made his left turn, he heard the sound of something hit. He said he was sure nothing had hit his truck and “just knew the sound came from the right of his truck.”

“Downey stated he does remember going over a bump, feeling when his back tires went over the bump,” the affidavit said.

It said he reported continuing on to where he works on East Douglas. He told the detective that when he went through the intersection and felt the bump, he looked in his mirror and saw people, “then one person picking something up in the road.”

He said he could not describe what the woman was picking up and denied stopping in the road before continuing onto work.

When the detective advised Downey a child had been injured and (police) had recovered video that showed him coming through the intersection and striking a child, Downey acted concerned and denied seeing the woman or the child prior to the incident, the affidavit said.

“(Detectives) reviewed video recovered from the City of Wichita bus and it shows the Chevrolet Avalanche drive through the intersection, come to a complete stop in the inside lane on Waterman and stay for approximately five seconds before driving off,” the affidavit said.

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