11-year-old in coma after hit-and-run on Eastside, family says

Family says boy had brain surgery on his birthday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An 11-year-old boy was in a medically-induced coma with a fractured skull and spine on Monday after a hit-and-run Friday evening on the Eastside, according to his family members.

The family members identified the boy as Vito Johnson, who was hospitalized at UF Health Jacksonville.

“We’re just waiting for the swelling to go down,” said his father, Anthony. “They keep doing CT scans and making sure, you know, the brain is working right.”

His family reached out to News4JAX on Monday and said Johnson was struck around 6 p.m. Friday — one day before his birthday — near the intersection of Phelps and Troyan streets.

The family said he and some other children were riding bikes and hoverboards when a car came barreling through the neighborhood.

One family member said he saw it. He described the car as a silver Honda Civic with tinted windows driving without lights that was speeding and swerving around other cars.

“Just to see him laying on the floor. It’s terrible,” said the boy’s cousin, who asked not to be identified.

Johnson turned 11 the day after the crash — the same day he had brain surgery, News4JAX was told.

Family members said they want whoever did this to be held accountable.

“Whoever did it, just come forward,” said the 11-year-old’s father. “Somebody knows something around there.”

“I have faith, you know,” he continued. “I know God — he’s not going to take my child.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released any information other than to say it’s investigating a hit-and-run involving a child at that Eastside intersection.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter