Boy, 9, killed by hit-and-run driver was at fault in accident, police say

June 08, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Police investigating the hit-and-run death of a 9-year-old West Baltimore boy still were trying to locate the driver yesterday, but they ruled that the accident was primarily the child's fault.

Officer Gary Starkey, the lead traffic investigator, said Adrian Senpalle Lee walked into the path of the car on West Lexington Street, 100 feet east of a crosswalk in front of Franklin Square Elementary School.

Starkey is encouraging the driver of the 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme to surrender, saying he or she will not face charges in the death. However, the driver still faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid and possibly license or registration violations.

"The primary cause of the accident is pedestrian error," Starkey said. "Had the car stopped, there would have been no charges against the operator, as long as his registration and license was in order, and he could have gone on his way."

The accident occurred Thursday shortly after school. Police said the car hit the child, sped past a crossing guard and turned 6 6TC corner. It was found a few minutes later abandoned two blocks away.

Police said two young men were seen running from the car, a rusting silver-gray two-door vehicle registered to a man who lives in Baltimore County, just south of the city line in Baltimore Highlands.

Investigators could not reach the man yesterday, but he does not match the description of the youths seen running from the car. The registered owner is 64 years old. Starkey said the car could have been sold years ago, and the new owners didn't change the registration. Or it could have been junked, then stolen.

Starkey said witnesses reported the car traveling about the speed limit, which is 30 mph. The car left no skid marks when it hit the child -- who was a third-grader -- and the crossing guard was unable to tell police where on the car the impact occurred.

Pub Date: 6/08/96

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