Hit-and-run crash kills young girl Young suspect later surrenders

February 24, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A 7-year-old girl trying to cross a street near her home was struck and killed last night by a hit-and-run driver, leaving residents of the Baltimore neighborhood enraged.

The suspected driver -- a 17-year-old Harford County youth -- surrendered early today at the sheriff's office in Bel Air. The Nissan Maxima that slammed into Tia Crawford was found parked in front of the youth's Belcamp home, police said.

Tia was struck about 7 p.m. in the 2200 block of Barclay Street, around the corner from her home in the 400 block of East 23rd Street. She was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital about 30 minutes later.

A man identifying himself as a passenger in the car called the police a short time later and provided information about the driver.

Police Officer David Eastman, an accident investigator, said the Nissan left no skid marks as it was driven south on Barclay and glanced off a Buick parked on the west side of the street. It was unclear whether the Buick was struck before or after Tia was struck.

A witness, Anthony Skinner, 26, who lives nearby on Greenmount Avenue, said the car appeared to be speeding at 40 to 50 mph when it struck the girl, who had stepped onto the street from between two parked cars. He said Tia was thrown into the air by the impact and landed in the middle of the road.

The sound of the impact resembled a gunshot, and "a lot of guys started ducking," Mr. Skinner said. "Then [the driver] kept on going. He didn't stop or anything. He didn't even bother to hit the brakes."

Mr. Skinner said a friend driving a pickup truck chased the hit-and-run car, but lost it on North Avenue.

Officer Eastman said the teen-age suspect walked into the Harford sheriff's office just past midnight -- at the same time officers were towing the heavily damaged Nissan from his home to Baltimore's police headquarters for examination by crime lab technicians.

Police said charges would be filed today after a consultation with the city state's attorney's office.

Terri and Charles Anderson, Tia's aunt and uncle, said the family moved to the area a year and a half ago.

"My girl was out playing. She was getting ready to come home," said Tia's 28-year-old mother, Margaret Crawford, in tears after returning from the hospital. She has two other children, Tia's 2-year-old sister, Shanta, and 11-year-old brother, Lamont.

Neighborhood residents said it is not unusual to see drivers speeding or racing along Barclay Street, where the speed limit is 25 mph. "If they would just obey the speed limit, this kind of thing could be prevented," said Donita Watts, who lives on Barclay with her 14-month-old daughter, Jazmia.

"I would like the police to give us all two-by-fours and parade the guy through here and let us hit him," said Toni Winchester, who was visiting her aunt on Barclay. "You might think this is the Indianapolis raceway."

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