Andrew Dys

Chester boy saved his sister and lost his life; city mulls how it can protect kids

La’Darious Wylie
La’Darious Wylie

Eleven-year-old La’Darious Wylie became a hero last year in Chester when he died after pushing his sister out of the path of a car as they waited for a school bus.

The Ashford Street site of his death remains almost unchanged, and children still wait for the bus at a place without sidewalks, where the only place to stand is on the side of the road or in the weeds.

But Chester officials say they are going to look at building school bus shelters at places without sidewalks like where La’Darious died.

The Chester City Council will take up the possibility of using some of the city’s money from one-cent sales tax programs for the shelters before the end of this year, said city Administrator Sandi Worthy.

“What we would look at is a shelter, on a pad, at places where there are no sidewalks,” Worthy said. It remains unclear how much each shelter would cost.

Chester officials are going to ask the Chester school district to provide a list of bus stop locations where children wait without any shelter or sidewalk, then pursue a list of spots, Worthy said.

La’Darious died Oct. 28, 2015, a day after he pushed his sister out of the way and was hit by a car. The car that hit him did not stop.

Michelle Johnson, 58, was later charged with felony hit and run resulting in death, but she has not yet gone to court. Johnson, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, remains out on bond.

The S.C. General Assembly, Chester County and the city of Chester have honored La’Darious heroic actions, but so far there have been few improvements other than some new lights at the spot.

His heroics first reported in The Herald have been lauded in media across the world.

His actions prompted community activists to push for sidewalks and better safety conditions.

Chester County Councilman Alex Oliphant said he has spent the past year trying to find money for sidewalks in the area where La’Darious was killed. County officials did not have the estimated $800,000 needed so the project remains in the planning stages.

Oliphant, who said “Chester will not forget its hero,” is encouraged that the city of Chester is looking at ways to improve safety while the county seeks money from state, federal, and other sources.