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Common Council lowers speed limit; mother remembers son

Falonda Haggray

ALBANY -- "Amazing, amazing kid, a gift from God, an amazing gift from God," said Falonda Haggray.

He was a gift taken too soon. At just 7 years old, Haggray's son Qazir Sutherland was hit and killed by a car while crossing South Pearl Street. Four years later, his mother says her heartache is still fresh.

"I take it day by day. I have a lot of memories, and they're special memories that I hold in my heart," she said.

Haggray wants others to keep her son's memory alive too, and hopes new legislation passed unanimously Monday night by the Albany common council will help.

The council voted to lower the speed limit on South Pearl near the Ezra Prentice homes, where Qazir was hit, from 30 mph to 25 mph. The proposal was largely supported by the community.

"It doesn't cost that much to reduce the traffic speed. It will cost more if someone is hit," said one resident.

Another added, "I know it's like 'what's 5 mph?' But there's a big difference being hit at 25 mph than there is being hit at 30."

Council members say a traffic study shows more than 10,000 vehicles travel along this stretch of South Oearl every day - more than 1,000 of them are commercial trucks.

With about 200 children living in the Ezra Prentice apartments, Qazir's mother says she hopes tonight's vote will help better protect them.

"Lowering the speed limit could hopefully save a child's life. Another family won't have to go through the tragic situation of what I had to witness and go through."

The Council President says the newer, lower speed limit will take effect in 60 days.

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