Tim Hulett's young son is dead from injuries 'Parents' nightmare' felt by the Orioles

July 24, 1992|By Peter Schmuck and William F. Zorzi Jr. | Peter Schmuck and William F. Zorzi Jr.,Staff Writers Staff writer Milton Kent contributed to this article.

Samuel Wayne Hulett, the 6-year-old son of Orioles' utility infielder Tim Hulett, died yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center from injuries received Wednesday when he was struck by a car near his Cockeysville home.

Dr. Charles Paidas, director of the pediatric trauma team at the Hopkins Children's Center, said Sam was placed on a life-support system when he arrived at the hospital and never regained consciousness.

"As a group, we feel for Tim and Linda, for the children and for the family," said Orioles pitcher Storm Davis, speaking for the players before last night's game.

"This, we all know, is a parents' nightmare. They know we are praying for them. They have the support of the Orioles family and every guy on the team."

Sam and his three brothers were returning from a playground at an apartment complex near their Cockeysville home about 3 p.m. when the boy darted from the curb in front of a 1991 Mercury Sable driven by Linda Blair, 30, of Upperco.

They were about to cross Greenside Drive near Sorley Road, in front of a parked truck, when one of Sam's brothers shouted, "Don't go," Baltimore County police said. But it was too late. The boy ran out, with his head down, in front of the car.

Ms. Blair will not be charged in the accident, police said.

Dr. Paidas said Sam suffered a "massive brain injury," which he termed "irreversible," and injuries to his lungs, liver and the long bones in his arms and legs.

Doctors performed two consecutive neurological tests yesterday to determine the child's brain function and another test to see if he could breathe without assistance, Dr. Paidas said.

When the results of those tests were all negative, the boy was declared legally dead at 3:30 p.m. An official announcement was not made until 6:30 p.m. to give Tim and Linda Hulett time to tell their three other sons -- Tug, 9, Joe, 8, and Jeff, 4 -- about their brother's death.

At the parents' request, Sam was kept on life-support systems to maintain his organs for possible donation, but it was not immediately known if any of the organs were suitable for this purpose, Dr. Paidas said.

The baseball team held a moment of silence before last night's game with the Texas Rangers in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

"You get into the ninth inning and you think, do I take the pitcher out or leave him in? That just doesn't seem very important right now," said Orioles Manager Johnny Oates.

"You don't know how close you are until something like this happens. You come into the clubhouse and there's not so much as a peep."

Club President Larry Lucchino issued a statement of personal condolences to the parents and their surviving sons, adding, "All of us in the Orioles family are saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the Huletts. We offer to all the Huletts, and to Sam, our prayers."

After the accident, Sam was flown by helicopter to the pediatric trauma unit at Hopkins, where he remained until he died.

Two years ago, on Aug. 30, 1990, Jeremy Green of Cockeysville, 10, was struck near where Sam was hit Wednesday, police said.

Then, too, it was daytime and the weather was clear.

And the 10-year-old was also flown to the pediatric trauma center at Hopkins, where he died a day later, said Baltimore County police spokesman E. Jay Miller.

The driver in that accident was not charged, either, and the cause was listed as "pedestrian error," Mr. Miller said.

Police acknowledged a speeding problem on Greenside Drive, a wide street where the speed limit is posted as 25 mph, but Mr. Miller said speed was not a factor in either of the two fatalities.

The Cockeysville playground where Sam and his brothers were playing before he was struck was empty yesterday at supper-time when the announcement came that the boy had died. Gray storm clouds were overhead.

Neighbors of the Huletts, though clearly upset by the accident, declined to say much about the family, described as "very private people."

"They are a very nice family," said one neighbor, who did not identify herself.

"They are basically an All-American family -- like baseball families and non-baseball families. Just very nice boys, very nice people. Ma, pa and apple pie."

Another neighbor said he did not know the family very well because the Huletts only recently moved to the area.

"It's tragic, really, really horrible. It's so sad," he said.

At Oriole Park, Johnny Oates said he had no idea when Tim Hulett would return, though baseball has no provision for personal leave. "We just told him to take as much time as he needs."

Storm Davis said, "It's going to be difficult to focus completely, but I think Tim would want us to play that way. We discussed that earlier. We're going to go out, play hard and let things fall where they may."

"We'll get through this," Mr. Davis added. "Obviously, our pain is not as great as theirs. Our thoughts are going to be with them.

"We'd like to try and be as sensitive as possible to Tim and Linda. It's hard to express how we feel. We don't really know what to say. I was with Tim today, and Angie was with Linda. Words don't express how we feel. They know our prayers are with them and we'll do anything that they want us to do."

Funeral arrangements were incomplete last night.

The family asked that memorial donations be sent to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Johns Hopkins Children Center, in care of the Development Office, 1620 McElderry St., Reed Hall 204, Baltimore, Md. 21205.

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