$1 million bond set for man accused of killing 5-year-old - WDRB 41 Louisville News

$1 million bond set for man accused of killing 5-year-old

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Edward Pearce, 24, of Louisville at his arraignment Friday. Edward Pearce, 24, of Louisville at his arraignment Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man accused of leaving the scene after hitting and killing a child in PRP appeared in court Friday morning. The judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. 

The alleged crime occurred in PRP on Grandel Boulevard around 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 17. That's when police say 24-year-old Edward Pearce hit the 5-year-old boy and kept on driving. Police say he was driving under the influence of some kind of intoxicant.

"This person driving this car was driving erratic, ran up on the sidewalk, struck the child, continued on and was headed back to his home where he was located a short time later," said LMPD spokeswoman Ofc. Carey Klain.

Deputy coroner Jo-Ann Farmer identified the child as Benjamin Clem of Granwood Place. Farmer said he died of blunt force injuries.

The child's death prompted organization of a fundraiser Friday at BJ's Pub, Dixie Highway and Pages Lane.

Brian Bailey said he does not know the Clem family. However, he wanted to do something to help, especially since he says PRP residents feel tight-knit and share in the family's grief.

"I don't know how to fix it. I want to. I don't know how to make it go away for them," Bailey said. "I feel like I know them in a sense that, I know everybody they know."

Customers placed cash in a recycled plastic water bottle at the pub throughout the day. It will remain through the weekend, with money to be given to the Clem family's church, Beechland Baptist Church. Bailey first publicized it through the "I Am Dixie Highway" Facebook page.

The boy's funeral is scheduled Tuesday.

Benjamin Clem was riding his scooter, when authorities say Pearce drove onto the sidewalk and hit him with his van.

Police say Pearce then drove away. The 5-year-old was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Klain said a witness remembered the license plate of the van, and police tracked him down at this home.

His van was then located at his home, where he was arrested.

"The individuals observed that he was definitely under the influence of some substance," Klain said. "There were drugs located in the vehicle as well as drug paraphernalia."

Police say they found a hypodermic needle with a clear white substance in Pearce's back pocket.

Pearce has a criminal record, including theft, drug and traffic violations. 

He's now charged with murder, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and possession of heroin.

Bond was set at $1 million.

Nadine Huber, a neighbor of Clem, is still in shock over the news.

"I don't really think about this happening in our neighborhood," she said. "It just doesn't seem possible."

She said people tend to use their neighborhood as a shortcut and believes that makes it dangerous.

"I just hope everyone will say a little prayer for that family."

As for Pierce's neighbors, they say he's been a hazard to their neighborhood for some time.

"They're just a nuisance," said David Coffey. "Walking down the road high, drunk..."

Does he think this could have been prevented?

"Something could have been done," said Coffey. "More drug testing, more something."

The Thursday night accident occurred while a walk to raise awareness of heroin abuse took place, also in Pleasure Ridge Park.

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