Parents of baby killed in hit-and-run speak out

Yoshwah Benjamin James was killed Tuesday night in a crash on the northwest side.
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A Chicago family is mourning the loss of their baby boy in a hit-and-run crash in Indianapolis Tuesday night.

The last picture ever taken of six-month-old Yoshwah Benjamin James shows him smiling, sitting in a high chair at an Indianapolis restaurant Tuesday, eating sausage and biscuits.

"Sweet boy. Always smiling, playful. He was just never a problem," said Yoshwah's mother, Kashica Whitfield, choking up with tears.

The baby's parents came to Indianapolis last weekend, hoping to move here from Chicago to escape the violence there and give Yoshwah and their other children a better life.

Instead, that trip changed their lives forever.

"They took my baby from me. They took him too early," cried Whitfield.

Yoshwah was killed after being ejected from his car seat Tuesday night after someone rear-ended his parents car and then took off. The crash happened at 38th Street and I-65.

Baby Yoshwah's father helped police catch the man police say is responsible for the accident.
Warren Shafford identified 30-year-old Gary Shinnamon in a lineup as the man he saw speeding behind him right before the crash.

"He had to be going 75-80 miles an hour when he ran into us," said Whitfield.

Shafford, still with facial injuries from the crash, told police he actually spoke to Shinnamon at the scene and that Shinnamon told him it was someone else who'd caused the accident and then took off running.

Shinnamon turned himself in Thursday afternoon to detectives at his lawyer's office.

"It took a big weight off my shoulder. It honestly did," said Whitfield of Shinnamon's surrender. "It was probably the first time I had a little joy since the accident had happened."

13 Investigates has uncovered new information about Shinnamon, including serious questions about whether he should have even been behind the wheel. Documents show he was driving on a suspended license after two drunk driving convictions and a conviction for dealing marijuana. All of those convictions happened in the past three years.

According to police records, Shinnamon has a history of driving violations that include drunk driving and seat belt violations.

Shinnamon's first drunk driving arrest in Marion County came in 2011, when an officer pulled him over on Interstate 70. According to court documents, Shinnamon admitted to drinking five or six Budweisers in three hours.

He was sentenced to 365 days in jail, but only spent two days behind bars. Shinnamon's drivers license was suspended for 90 days.

In 2012, Shinnamon was pulled over again after an officer saw him driving and dragging a five-foot tall sign under his car. A police report shows Shinnamon had three passengers with him and tested for a blood alcohol level of .12.

Shinnamon was sentenced to 545 days, but only served 90. The rest were suspended. His license was also suspended.

For baby Yoshwah's parents, those details are the last thing on their mind right now.

First, they must bury their baby son.

"I lost my son, man. I got figure out a way to pay for his funeral. All that. We don't have that," said the baby's father, Warren Shafford.