Student is the victim of a hit and run on the way to school, his father speaks out


A young man on the way to school is left badly hurt after he’s hit by an SUV.  This happened at Whitman Street and Haskell Avenue, near the Roosevelt Community Education Center just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.  

The victim’s dad, Clayton Oaks, said at first, he thought he was getting a call saying his son was sick at school.  He did not imagine that he would be rushing to OSF St. Anthony Hospital to see his son, who had just been the victim of a hit and run.

“I wasn’t even sure he was alive.” said Oaks.

That was one of first thoughts going through Clayton Oaks’ s head after being told over the phone that his 18 year old son, Clayton Jr., was hit while crossing the street to school.  A walk that he made everyday.

“[It’s a] parent’s nightmare to see their kid sitting in a bed like that. Blood, just damaged face, head swollen, and stuff. It was very hard”, said Oaks. “I just want to actually, I just wanted to put my arms around him but of course I couldn’t.” Oaks continued, “This man walks to school every morning. When I can’t supply no ride for him, even if it’s cold. He sets his own alarm, he’s determined to graduate. I’m proud of him.”

Clayton Jr. was struck by an older, tan SUV that drove away after hitting the young man.  The accident left him with life threatening injuries along with a broken arm, broken pelvis, and a long road to recovery.  

“The important thing was stopping all the internal bleeding right away when it happened. That’s the first thing they did” said Oaks.  “There’s also a chip in his neck, possibly a broken neck as well. That brace will be on him for at least three months. So I’m looking for three to six months recovery.”

The hit and run comes only months after Clayton Jr.’s mother, Jennifer Lewis,  was found dead in her apartment.  The victim of domestic violence.

“2019 was supposed to be better. Pull my kids together. It’s been a rough 2018.” said Oaks.

Witnesses gave police more detailed information on the SUV, including the vehicle’s license plate number.  Oaks says he’s been overwhelmed by the amount of support he and his family have received during this tough time.

“Every face I seen I was just so grateful seeing them.” said Oaks. “It’s people that popped up that I didn’t even expect and I was just- that helps. All that helps. Just that little bit.”

The family has been updating Eyewitness news on Clayton Jr.’s condition.  As of Tuesday night he is in stable condition.  Clayton Jr. is awake and responding, even giving his dad a fist bump.  

No arrests have been made.

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