BELTON - A Belton family is still mourning the loss of their son who was killed in a hit and run accident over the weekend. It happened on the South Loop of 1-21 on I-35 Frontage road. It's a busy stretch of road that people travel to go to work, school or out of town, but the convenience of the road came at a cost Friday night as 12 year old Richard Snyder was struck and killed in that hit and run accident while he was riding his bike, just two days before his 13th birthday.
"I wanted to put band aids on and fix it and I just couldn't. It's hard when you get all of this information and these things happen so fast and then you have to try to digest them and make sense of them" says Richards mother Hollie Snyder.
Hollie says indents in the grass next to the road show where the children have to walk to get to the bus stop or school and that having them so close to oncoming traffic is concerning. Richards parents say the boys life could've been spared if there were sidewalks off of the road, something they say they've been asking city officials for for over 3 years with no luck. A family friend who drives his own kids to school everyday because of the lack of sidewalks says he wonders what it will take for the city to take safety seriously.
"Richard was like my own son so we have to honor him by trying to protect everyone else. It could've been someone else's kid or a mother trying to go to the grocery store. It's been important since day one since the project was designed, sidewalks should've been a priority" says Belton resident Todd Gilliam.
Channel 6 asked Paul Romer with the City of Belton why sidewalks haven't been installed in that area to which he directed us to TxDot saying that's something they're responsible for. Channel 6 then spoke to TxDot official Ken Roberts about the situation and he says it's uncommon to place a sidewalk on the side of an interstate but not impossible.
"It's not something we would automatically include as part of a construction project but if the neighborhood is interested and would like to have something installed there's two means for them to do that" says Ken Roberts, TxDot Waco.
Both avenues include going to the city, one way is for the group of concerned residents to go to the city and ask for funding through a TxDot grant, the other way is to ask the city to pay for it. Roberts also says the more people that come forward expressing interest in sidewalks the better display of a real need it will show.
Richards parents say their healing process will be difficult and that they have a message for the driver that hit their son and never stopped.
"He has to live with this for the rest of his life and I hope he's suffering as bad as we are" says Richards father Richard Snyder.
The Snyder family donated Richard's organs to those in need as a way to keep his caring spirit alive.
They also have Go Fund Me account set up to help with expenses. You can find more information or donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/richard-snyder