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Father: 'I want justice for my boy.' Video shows moments before 3-year-old killed by hit-and-run driver

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 18:57:52-05

INDIANAPOLIS — INDIANAPOLIS — Surveillance video captured the moment 3-year-old Jyrie Matthews was run over in the parking lot of a shopping center in the summer of 2022 – a moment that his father says changed his life forever.

According to court records, the driver told detectives she thought she had gone over a speed bump in the parking lot – which is why she kept driving after she ran over the little boy.

Jyrie's father, John Mathews, spoke to WRTV on December 30 – before the Marion County Prosecutor announced their decision not to file charges against the driver involved.

"I want justice for my boy. Everyday this is something I think about," Mathews said at the time.

Jyrie would have turned 4 years old in January.

"He definitely was going to play ball once he got older,” Mathews said. “I hate this happened to him so early. He had bright future. He could've been a future Pacer player.”

PREVIOUS | 'We want justice': Families seek answers in hit-and-run deaths

A cross, a teddy bear and a basketball now mark the spot near where the toddler was playing just before he died.

For Mathews, they serve as a constant reminder of how much he misses his little boy.

"I am trying to be strong. How can you be strong when it's hard man," said Mathews.

According to court documents, Jyrie's mother told investigators she had pulled into the parking lot of Clearwater Village on 82nd Street because she was having car trouble. She and Jyrie were waiting for help to arrive.

Surveillance video taken from a nearby bank shows Jyrie playing with his basketball for several minutes with it rolling into the area where he was struck more than once before he chased it down.

WRTV has edited the surveillance below to show only a few moments where he was playing out of respect for Jyrie's family.

Jyrie Playing Basketball

That same video also shows Jyrie sit on his basketball in the area of the parking lot where a white SUV would turn moments later.

Video then shows the driver continue down the parking lot after striking Jyrie. His mother rushed to his side and called for help.

Jyrie was taken to Peyton Manning Hospital where he died from his injuries.

"I just don't see how that's possible for you not to see a human being in your vision as you're driving. It's just don't seem right. I feel like the full story isn't being told and I am glad we can share this video with the world," Mathews said.

It took three days for investigators to track down the driver of that white SUV, a 58-year-old woman. Police reports show that images from the camera at the bank showed a sticker and black spoke wheels. They were able to connect those features through other surveillance features throughout the city and eventually located the 2016 white Toyota Rav4 involved in the crash.

Investigators found what appeared to be dried blood on the mud flap of the driver side front wheel, according to the search warrant affidavit.

According to court documents, the driver admitted to being in the area while being questioned and told detectives "… she did not hit a child, but thought she ran over a new speed bump in the parking lot."

The case was handed over to the Marion County Prosecutor’s office who took nearly six months to announce their decision not to file charges against the driver.

It’s a decision that Mathews says has left him wanting justice for his son.

"Every time I think about how long it's been, my blood gets too boiling," he said. "I hope she has something coming towards her. To the prosecutor, I want you to do your job. There is no way all these months we haven't see anything for justice for my son. It's been 6 months and he is just gone. That's pretty much it. Nobody is in custody over it. Nobody ever been in custody over it."

"I just miss him so much. I miss his voice. I miss his smile," said Latina Mathews.

3-year-old Jyrie Mathews will forever be loved and missed by his family.

"I loved him so much. He was my sunshine," said Latina.

No one being held accountable for his death is upsetting for Jyrie's aunt Latina and father John.

"I feel like he was failed. He was failed on that day. Precious Jyrie was failed on that day," said Latina.

"I just don't believe that is fair to me, to Jyrie, to my kids, my family, my son needs justice. He had a whole life to live. He was loved, he was going to be that star. He was going to be something but now it's like my son is in vain right now. Case closed," said John.

The family wants the prosecutor's office to take another look at the case.

"They just need to redo his case seriously. He's a baby. I just don't want his name to go in vain," said Latina.

Jyrie would've turned four on January 31st.

John is hoping to honor him at a Pacers game.

"He was a basketball player, maybe a future Pacers player. I am hoping that maybe me and the Pacers can come together for Jyries fourth birthday and collab in remembrance of my son. That would mean so much to me.