Witness speaks after 9-year-old dies from injuries sustained in - KCTV5

Witness speaks after 9-year-old dies from injuries sustained in Wednesday crash

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Aaron Cordell Shanklin-James. (GoFundMe) Aaron Cordell Shanklin-James. (GoFundMe)
Kaveon C. Cottonham's mugshot. (KCTV) Kaveon C. Cottonham's mugshot. (KCTV)
JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -

On Friday morning, a 9-year-old who was in a car crash that happened on Wednesday died from his injuries and the witness who stopped to help is speaking out.

According to family, 9-year-old Aaron Cordell Shanklin-James died after he, his pregnant mother, father and grandfather were the victims in the hit-and-run at 51st and Woodland. The family shared their thoughts on who Aaron was. 

Aaron had a smile and laugh that would brighten up ones day and had a strong love and bond for his loved ones. Aaron was autistic, yet that did not let that interfere with his excellence with math problems and strive to speak, although he was challenged with delayed speech. Aaron is a handsome, gifted boy and had a loving personality.

The Center School District has confirmed he was a student at Boone Elementary. They said in a statement: "We are heartbroken. Our community sends our sincerest thoughts and support to the family.  We’ve been in touch with the family and will continue to support them however they need."

On Thursday, prior to the boy's death, a man was charged in connection with the crash.

Kaveon C. Cottonham, 19, faces four counts of second-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

There is no word on whether the charges will change because the boy has now died.

According to court records, Cottonham was in a car in the area of 51st and Woodland Avenue on Wednesday when a marked patrol car tried to pass him in order to respond to another call.

A witness told police that Cottonham thought the police were trying to pull him over. So, he ran and pulled ahead of the patrol car. Cottonham was speeding and ignored traffic signals.

He ultimately wrecked at 51st and Woodland.

Maurice Bell was there when the crash happened. He said he rushed over and helped the boy's mother out of the car before the paramedics arrived. 

When he found out the child was injured, he went to visit him in the hospital. 

"It was really bad because I didn't expect to see him in such a bad way," Bell said. "I was just really pulling for him. I was praying and everything, man. The whole night, the whole day. It just stayed in my head. I'm feeling really let down because I was so convinced he was going to make it."

Bell said he wants to continue to help the family however he can, as he's formed a relationship with the family since the crash. 

"I'm just trying to be there for the family, for the father, too," Bell said. "I'm a friend. Whatever I can do to help, if I can, I'll do it."

After the crash, Cottonham got out of the car and fled. A witness also said they saw men carrying guns leave the vehicle that the Cottonham was driving. 

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