First-grader mourned Boy, 5, killed by car on his way to school

September 23, 1992|By Mark Bomster and Roger Twigg | Mark Bomster and Roger Twigg,Staff Writers

Dontre Murfree, the 5-year-old Baltimore boy killed when he ran in front of a car on the way to school yesterday morning, was remembered for his energy, curiosity and thirst for learning.

"Everybody who knew Donny said he had such a great personality," said LaTanya Delly, the first-grader's mother, speaking at Dontre's godmother's home in Northeast Baltimore last night. "His energy never left."

It was a spirit that shone through at Montebello Elementary School, where Dontre was a new student this year.

"The teachers [said] he always raised his hands to answer the questions," recalled Dale Parker-Brown, principal of the school. "He was very enthusiastic."

Friends and family gathered to remember Dontre last night at the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside home of Clara Carroll, his godmother, where he lived with his mother and 2-year-old sister Victoria.

They recalled a little boy who loved school and enjoyed going to church and playing video games with his friends.

Dontre was killed when he darted into the path of a car on Hillen Road as his mother was escorting him to a school bus, police said.

Officer John Emrick of the Traffic Investigation Section said Dontre was pronounced dead minutes after the 8 a.m. accident.

According to police, the boy was walking to a school bus stop with his mother and two other children when for "no apparent reason," he darted into the street in the 3500 block of Hillen Road into the path of a northbound 1988 Sterling. No charges were lodged against Earl Diver, 25, of the 1000 block of Rutland Ave., the driver of the car. Police said the matter will be reviewed by the state's attorney's office.

Those who knew him said that Dontre was a vivacious child with a keen interest in everything going on around him.

"He loved to ride on his bike, he liked to play with kids, he had a friend that he really loved," Mrs. Carroll said.

And though he had just started at Montebello Elementary, after attending kindergarten at Hillendale Elementary School in Baltimore County, he quickly settled in at his new school, she said.

"He loved to learn," recalled his godmother. "The most recent thing he talked about was that he got 16 stars in his class, more than anybody else. He was very proud of those stars."

Mrs. Carroll said the fatal accident was "a total shock, it was devastation" for the small but close-knit family.

And she warned that city officials should take a careful look at the busy intersection of 35th Street and Hillen Road, where she said several children have been hit by cars.

"Something needs to be done. A traffic light, a crossing guard . . . something to let the motorists know you have to slow down," she said.

Surviving Dontre, in addition to his mother, sister and godmother, is his father, Glenn Murfree, who lives in Oxford, N.C.

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