A young mother was killed in Hartford last week, and her family says it did not need to happen.
Last Thursday, 32-year-old Deidre Gray was killed in a violent wrong-way crash. The person who police say caused it was a felon and had drugs and a gun in the car.
It all played out on the corner of Westland and Barbour streets in Hartford’s north end.
On Tuesday, friends and family members gathered to remember Gray.
“She was so loving and caring,” said Gary Gray, the victim’s brother.
But after the heartfelt memories and tributes came cries of injustice and anger.
Community leaders say their pleas to combat speeding have gone unheard too long.
“When you talk about speed bumps, I see other communities, they got these things pretty easily and they cut down on a lot of these speeding issues,” Gray said.
Now that a young mother leaves an 11-year-old son behind, they're hoping her death won't be in vain. In addition to speed signs and speed bumps, leaders said there are other lifesaving measures that are lacking in the north end of Hartford.
“Some things need to be moved around to make sure we have the enforcement cause next time it could be my son,” said Pastor A.J. Johnson, of the Urban Hope Refuge Church.
Community leaders say enforcement and funding are not the only areas where the city struggles.
Police say the person at fault, 24-year-old Patrick Milner had a stolen gun and drugs in the car.
Milner’s criminal past includes illegal gun and drug charges.
Leaders say he shouldn’t have slipped through the cracks after his release last October.
“He should not have gotten out of jail and came back to the street with a gun and drugs. Something should have been different. The community and resources here aren’t prepared to take back people like him,” Johnson said.
Now, suddenly forced to care for Deidre’s son, her friends and family say they're committed to changing their neighborhood in her honor.
“This has been going on for a long time, a long time from what I hear and it takes something like this, unfortunately, a tragedy like my sister’s to have people start talking and to start generating motion for things to happen,” Gray said.
Family members promise to lead that charge. They say they'll be contacting city leaders in hopes there will be no more tragedies.
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