Apex neighbors push for safer streets after death of 10-year-old boy

Jamiese Price Image
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Apex neighbors push for safer streets after death of 10-year-old boy
A receptive Apex Town Council listened to concerns and potential solutions from neighbors of Woodall Estates, where a child playing in the street was struck and killed last month.

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- Driving through the Woodall Estates Subdivision in Apex, one sees bright yellow signs, reminding drivers that children are playing. Neighbors are taking the extra steps after 10-year-old Ayaan Vachery was hit and killed by a driver while riding his scooter last month. It happened in the 1900 block of Woodall Crest Drive.

Apex Police Chief Jason Armstrong said the driver was traveling between 21 to 24 mph at the time of impact. The speed limit in the neighborhood is 25 mph.

"Since this happened, no kids are out playing," said Darren Hock.

Hock and other residents are working to make sure the streets are safer for children. He and others took their concerns to the town council Tuesday night.

"Everyone is scared to death. We just want to see if we can figure out here over the next couple of months figure out a way to make that stretch safer," Hock said.

One by one, his neighbors all offered solutions to the traffic troubles in their neighborhood. From lack of crosswalks to speed, several suggestions were made to councilors.

"We are respectfully asking to review the 25-speed limit," said one neighbor.

"Our priority is to have clearly designated crosswalks and bike lanes," said another.

"A traffic light would help," added another.

The town council was receptive to change. "Everything is back on the table when it comes to this," said Councilor Ed Gray. "I know after talking with my colleagues up here every single one of us understands the death of one child is one too many."

Fellow councilors echoed the push to find solutions.

"We can't just say put a Band-Aid on and do one thing. We have to look at the systems that caused this. The system that failed here not just this incident or this road," said Councilor Terry Mahaffey.

But the solutions don't erase the sadness. The community is still mourning the death of Ayaan.

"You never think such a horrendous thing is going to happen," said Loretta Rodriguez.

Her granddaughter Audrey and Ayaan were playmates. Rodriguez came to the council meeting to show support.

"I will never forget his words," Rodriguez said. "He'd always come up and knock on the door. And I would answer, and he say, can Audrey come to play? And he was so sweet."

Armstrong said the accident reconstruction team is still working on its assessment and that's a big part of the police department's investigation.

"Part of the information that you need to go in that report, the medical records, the autopsy, and different things like that. Until we get that information back, we're not able to complete our analysis and assessment," Armstrong explained.