Help, sympathy come from near and far

July 24, 1995|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Sun Staff Writer

A cemetery donated five plots, one for each of the victims. Singer Michael Jackson appeared on CNN to express his sympathy. Strangers pitched in thousands of dollars to help family members of those killed by a car Thursday at a Woodlawn bus stop.

During morning services yesterday at a church near the site of the accident, the pastor spoke of God's love reflected in the outpouring of support for the family of the victims, four of them children.

"We talked about love today," said the Rev. Emmett C. Burns Jr., pastor of Rising Sun First Baptist Church in Woodlawn. "Love is giving. Love is sharing. Love is being there for people in moments of tragedy. I've seen the greatest outpouring of love of any single tragedy I've ever seen."

Flower shops donated casket sprays and heart-shaped arrangements. At a Sam's store in Woodlawn, employees left a bucket that filled with $1,300 in a day. Rite Aid employees contributed another $1,000.

People walking in off the street to the offices of a lawyer handling a fund for the families had donated $1,200 as of Friday. The next day, another 275 envelopes arrived, none of which had been opened as of yesterday.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend called to offer condolences. Mr. Jackson took to the CNN airwaves early Friday to offer his. Strangers from as far away as Alabama offered money, sympathy, prayers.

And for another day, sympathizers filled the grassy hillside where a sports car hurdled a curb and killed the victims as they stood at a bus stop. Visitors left behind more flowers, stuffed rTC animals, balloons, messages of love.

Amid the grief, relatives and friends found strength in faith and love.

"What the family sees is love, and Jesus did say that love is the greatest gift that man has, and that's one of the things that the family has seen," said Peggy Jones Byrd, a family friend who organized a news conference outside Rising Sun First Baptist yesterday.

"In a time like this when you hear so many bad things about people and you see the lackadaisical approach they have when they take care of day-to-day business, you find that God is still alive," she said, her voice cracking.

"When something like this happens, people immediately come to aid you. It's one of the most awesome things to ever have been a part of."

Trying to come to grips with the accident, Mr. Burns had a message for 250 members of his congregation:

"This was not God's will. This was man's doing. As happens, God will bring some good out of it. They did not die in vain; some good will come out of it. Everybody now will be more conscious."

Mr. Burns, also a state delegate, told young members of the congregation to drive more carefully, urged motorists to take down license plate numbers and report speeding drivers and said he will push to increase funding for police.

Some family members attended the news conference but struggled to find words.

Kerry Anne Dorsey, who lost her daughter and two grandchildren, said, "We just appreciate everything," before breaking down into tears.

Kim Linair Dorsey, 25, and her two daughters, 3-year-old Chanell and 7-year-old Keisha, were killed as they waited for a bus on Woodlawn Drive.

Mrs. Dorsey's 8-year-old stepson, Charles Edgar Dorsey V, was listed in good condition yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, being treated for a punctured lung and broken leg.

Karen Fields, 26, ran to safety, pulling her 8-year-old son Michael out of the path of the red 1988 Mazda MX6 driven by Raymond Charles Haney, 32. Mrs. Fields' two other children, Jasmine Little, 4, and Darrian Hough, 8, died in the crash.

All the victims were members of an extended family.

Baltimore County prosecutors have said they will await the results of the police investigation before deciding whether auto manslaughter charges will be sought against Mr. Haney.

Police say a final report to prosecutors probably would take at least a month.

A public viewing was planned from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave.

Tomorrow, at least 300 relatives are expected to attend a private funeral at noon at Rising Sun Baptist.

A public viewing is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow at the church, at 2211 St. Luke's Lane, followed by a private family hour.

The victims will be buried at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, one of several Baltimore-area cemeteries that offered to donate gravesites.

Yesterday, Mr. Burns said he was thinking long and hard about what to say at tomorrow's services.

"I'm praying for strength," he said, "and I'm praying that I may have the wisdom to say the right thing to comfort this family."

The victims, he left to God.

"They are in a much better place, they are," he said.

Donations may be sent to the Dorsey/Fields Fund, in care of Bryan H. Potts, 1102 Court Square Building, Baltimore 21202. Information: 727-8666.

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