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Police identify woman killed in hit-and-run crash on Gravois Avenue

The driver fled the scene of the crash, St. Louis police said.

ST. LOUIS — A female pedestrian died Sunday evening after being struck by a vehicle at the intersection of South Spring and Gravois avenues in St. Louis.

According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the crash happened at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday in St. Louis' Tower Grove South neighborhood, and the driver fled the scene.

The female victim was transported to a local hospital where she later died.

The victim was identified by St. Louis police Wednesday as Mangal Sarki, 65, of the 3500 block of Grace, less than a mile from where the crash happened.

The vehicle is described as a red sedan but the driver is unknown as of Wednesday afternoon.

This comes after eleven pedestrians and two bicyclists have already died in St. Louis this year, and after St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said she wanted to put $40 million of ARPA funds into making city streets safer.

For people who live and work in the area, it's an everyday fear. Renato Flamenco and his family have owned their restaurant, Truc Lam, along the intersection of the hit-and-run for decades.

"I see a car accident probably once a week, maybe more,” Flamenco said.

The restaurant has been the family’s dream. But where it sits puts their dream at a crossroads with tragedy.

"(The restaurant) is our bread and butter,” he said. “It's how we make all our money and live."

Other longtime residents like Temika Young, who said she’s lived in South St. Louis City most of her life, are constantly afraid of crossing their own street.

"My auntie and my daughter almost got hit crossing the street here because cars like this just speed and speed,” she said.

Several community advocates said they’ve been pushing for change. TrailNet Policy Catalyst Charles Bryson said they’ve been studying the structures of roads along the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

"I bet you most of these folks are not going 30 mph because the lanes are so wide," he said.

He said they’ve also been looking at solutions to the community response to these tragedies.

"Our police force is never going to have enough people to support traffic measures, so we need to look at automated enforcements as well."

The South Grand Community Improvement District’s Executive Director Rachel Witt said she echoes TrailNet’s suggestions for solutions. On top of Bryson’s suggestions, she said wants to push for a driving campaign to better educate drivers in Missouri. She said this is the stepping stone to strengthening driving requirements in Missouri. She also said any attempt at solutions must require “design, enforcement, and education.”

Flamenco said he’s ready for any and all of these changes, because he just wants to keep his family’s foundation, and those who frequent it, alive.

"I'm used to it now, so I don't know if it's safe or not, because it's just what I have,” he said.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020 and the highest rate since 2005.

An accident reconstruction team was requested to investigate the crash. 

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