LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Pleasure Ridge Park man is behind bars on murder and DUI charges after a hit-and-run that killed a 5-year-old boy Thursday evening.
Benjamin Clem died of multiple blunt force injuries at Kosair Children’s Hospital just after 8 p.m.
Louisville Metro Police say the incident happened just before 7 p.m. in the 5500 block of Grandel Blvd. Witnesses watched helplessly as the driver of a minivan, 24-year-old Edward Pearce, sped down the street, hit the curb and drove over the sidewalk striking Clem. Pearce immediately fled the scene.
Witnesses say the boy had been riding a push scooter with his older brother on the sidewalk, as their father tagged along behind them.
“Thankfully, we were able to make an arrest. This is very saddening and this is just a tragedy. It’s just so senseless. Our hearts and prayers go out to this family tonight,” Carey Klain, with LMPD, said.
Neighbors immediately took note of the vehicle’s plates and called police. The registration led them to Pearce’s home about a mile away in the 6500 block of Skylight Dr. where they identified Pearce and took him into custody. Police say he was visibly under the influence of drugs.
A search of his vehicle found drugs and drug paraphernalia. His van was towed away and processed as evidence in the crime.
Pearce’s brother, who was home at the time of the arrest says Edward did not do drugs. He claimed he takes prescribed suboxone, a narcotic used to treat addiction of other drugs.
Pearce is charged with murder, DUI, leaving the scene of an crash, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of heroin.
Pearce has prior DUI and careless driving convictions.