Child dead, man badly hurt after car crashes into them in Chandler, FD says

CHANDLER, Ariz. - A child is dead and his father was hurt after being hit by a car in Chandler on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Chandler Firefighters responded to a crash near Loop 101 and Ray Road for reports of a crash around 11 a.m. When they got there, they found a child, man and woman who had been hit by a car.

The child, a 9-year-old boy, died from his injuries at the hospital. His father was taken to a trauma center and the woman didn't want medical help.

Chandler Police say two cars crashed during a left-turn incident. One of the cars went up onto the sidewalk and hit the victims.

"No impairment is suspected on the drivers involved," police said.

We're learning more about the young boy who died and the impact he left on this world.

<div>9-year-old Ilai Petersen (photo from the Petersen family)</div>
9-year-old Ilai Petersen (photo from the Petersen family)

A young boy's impact

A community that cherished 9-year-old Ilai Petersen is sharing just what a remarkable child he was.

A spokesperson for Crossroads Nazarene Church says Iliai’s family were active members. His parents met on a mission trip and he was very involved in the children’s ministry.

He even joined his family for a mission trip abroad in Ukraine this summer.

He’s described as a child who spent his short life loving and serving others.

"He, maybe at 9 years, established more of a legacy than many people do at 90," Christine Jones, the church spokesperson, said.

His sudden and unexpected death left a void in an entire community.

"The entire family, the Petersen family, was very deep in the DNA of this church community, and so the entire community is grieving and reeling," Jones said.

His parents are requesting privacy right now.

"This family is so loved and so service-oriented. They have just given away so much of their life serving other people," she remarked.

Jones says Ilai and his dad, Aaron, were leaving a church fall festival around 10:30 Saturday morning to get a Starbucks drink across the street.

"Their lives in a blink of an eye, literally a blink of an eye, change forever," Jones said. "Even when you do everything right, you’re walking on the sidewalk, you’re going to the stop light, you're going to push the button, you’re going to wait for the walk signal, you do everything perfectly, something tragic can happen. That’s exactly what happened to this family."

Amid their grief, they want everyone to know this: "Cherish the moments you have with the people you love because you never know when it might be the last one."

Ilai's dad was also taken to the hospital, but Jones says he has since been released.

She says the best help this family can get at this time is for people of faith to pray or send warm thoughts their way.

The family also has a GoFundMe that can be found here:

Map of where the crash happened: