People in the 21st and Piatt area say Lloyd “Sonny” Ferguson was a warm, friendly man who loved his horse.
“I just seen him ride” all over the neighborhood, James Walker said Saturday evening from his garage, where he lounged with his wife, Mae.
Across the street, several cars gathered in front of Ferguson’s neat, tree-shaded home. The Walkers said they didn’t know that Ferguson and his horse had been killed until a reporter stopped by Saturday to ask them questions about the accident.
“He always had open arms,” James Walker said. “A neighborly guy – that’s the way to describe him.”
Ferguson – whose identity was confirmed by a family member a day after his death – died Friday after he, a 6-year-old boy and his horse were hit by a vehicle as they were crossing 21st Street near Piatt. Wichita police Sgt. Jeff Davis said the vehicle, which he described as a “silver car,” drove away after the collision.
After two bystanders ran to their aid, a second car hit the group, Davis said. The string of events left the 49-year-old dead at the scene and the three others hospitalized.
It remained unclear Saturday which collision killed Ferguson. The bystanders, a 17-year-old girl and a man in his 40s, were taken to the hospital in serious condition Friday. The 6-year-old boy suffered critical injuries, Davis said. The male bystander had been upgraded to fair condition by Saturday afternoon, an operator at Wesley Medical Center said. Updates for the child and the teen were not immediately available.
The horse was reportedly euthanized.
The accident happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Dollar General Store at 21st and Piatt.
Jayuante Regular said the sound of squealing tires drew out him out of his home that night.
“We had just seen Sonny walking that way,” Regular said, pointing south toward 21st Street. Ferguson often walked around the neighborhood with his horse, neighbors say.
“It’s so weird that this would happen to him.”
Karri Smalley recently had moved in with family near the crash site. She said her mother, Rebecca Moses, a brother and her two young daughters were in their front yard and “witnessed every bit of it.”
“He brought his horse over to see my daughters a hundred times,” Smalley said of Ferguson, whom she knew only as Sonny.
“My daughter told me today, ‘Mommy, horse gone.’
“It doesn’t make me feel good as a parent that that happened right out there.”
By Saturday, a small bunch of flowers had been placed next to a tree near the crosswalk were Ferguson was killed. Nearby white spray paint – part of the accident investigation – marked the sidewalks on both sides of 21st Street.
Davis said Saturday that police are continuing to search for the silver car, which likely has front-end damage, and its driver.
“We’ll eventually find it with the help of those two witnesses” who were hospitalized, Davis said.
Anyone who witnessed the accident or knows the whereabouts of the silver car or its driver are encouraged to call police.