New memorial honors toddler killed in hit-skip outside Cincinnati Zoo

(FOX19 NOW)
(FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A permanent memorial will honor the toddler who was hit by a car while walking outside the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

3-year-old Khloe Pitts was holding hands with her parents as they crossed Vine Street on Nov. 26, 2016. The family had just left the Festival of Lights before tragedy struck.

"Khloe was amazing. She was just a ball of energy. She loved family, friends, food," Joy White, Khloe's mother, said. "She was sassy and sweet and all of that. She had it all."

An SUV driven by Donteiz Dickey ran through a red light and hit Khloe and her mother.

Khloe died from her injuries two months later.

Exactly one year after the incident, Cincinnati officials proclaimed Nov. 26 to be "Khloe Pitts Day." The proclamation happened as dozens of loved ones gathered outside the zoo on Vine Street to dedicate the new bench.

"She will always be remembered through the grace of God," Dametrice Pitts, Khloe's father, said.

The toddler's photo and name are carved in brick beneath the bench. The brick also reads "The Brightest Star in the Sky."

"She loved the Festival of Lights, she loved animals. It means everything," said White, who was joined by Khloe's father, Dametrice Pitts, in remembering their daughter.

The parents said they hope Khloe's bench will serve as a message for pedestrians and drivers to be aware of their surroundings and free from distractions.

"If you know you hit somebody, please stop, turn around, show some kind of compassion for human life," White said.

City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld said the city has devoted half a million dollars from the budget to go toward pedestrian safety measures.

"Nothing will bring back this wonderful little girl, but we do want to make sure that nobody else feels fearful walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street."

Dickey, 23, drove away from the scene, but was taken into custody a short time later.

Authorities charged him with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and failing to stop after a crash.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in September.

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