Girl, 7, struck by car, killed Suspect in hit-and-run surrenders.

February 24, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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 to city traffic investigators at police headquarters.

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

Shortly after the girl was hit, a city teen-ager who was a passenger in the car got out a few blocks away and called his mother.

According to Officer James Schaekel, of the traffic investigation section, the mother picked up her son and drove him back to where the girl was hit. There, the youth gave police information about the car and its driver.

Officer David Eastman, an accident investigator, said the 1990 Nissan Maxima 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.

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

Officer Schaekel said the driver, a student at Aberdeen High School, was apparently headed home when the car broke down on Moravia Road near Interstate 95.

He said the driver called AAA and had his heavily damaged car towed home.

After police broadcast a description of the car and sent a Teletype to area police departments, an Aberdeen City police officer recognized the vehicle as one he had stopped last week for a minor traffic violation and informed Baltimore police of its whereabouts.

When Officer Eastman, accompanied by the Aberdeen officer, arrived at the boy's Belcamp home, they found the car parked nearby.

Officer Schaekel said that while the car was being towed to Baltimore for processing by crime lab technicians, the suspected youth was being driven by his mother to city police headquarters.

There, the youth was charged as a juvenile with leaving the scene of a pedestrian accident, failure to render aid to a victim of a pedestrian accident and failure to notify the nearest police agency of a personal injury accident.

Shortly after 2 a.m. today, the youth was released in the custody of his mother.

Officer Schaekel said vehicular manslaughter charges against the youth were pending a consultation today with the city state's attorney's office.

"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.

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