Vehicle linked to school hit-run

Investigators seek driver in crash that injured five children on west side

Traffic danger noted at dismissal

October 24, 2003|By Tanika White and Del Quentin Wilber | Tanika White and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A damaged car discovered hours after a hit-and-run driver plowed into a group of Baltimore schoolchildren Wednesday afternoon was linked to the accident yesterday through forensic testing, police said.

The car, a 1992 Nissan Sentra, was found about a mile from the scene of the accident near West Baltimore Middle and North Bend Elementary schools. Investigators are trying to track down its owner and driver, police said.

The accident occurred about 4 p.m. Wednesday, just after West Baltimore Middle ended classes for the day. A group of seventh-graders was crossing Hillwell Road when a car rounded North Bend Road and ran into them, police said.

All the children have been sent home after hospital treatment, police said.

They were identified yesterday as Jasmine Holstead, 12; Alecia Crank, 12; Del'Shay Evans, 12; Amecia Ford, 13; and Shaquanna Carson, whose age could not be determined.

At West Baltimore Middle School yesterday, it was "business as usual," said Principal Everett X. Garnett, as administrators and teachers worked to make sure Wednesday's accident didn't disrupt learning.

"We are just holding together as a family," Garnett said. "We have to support each other."

Parents called all day to check on the five who were injured. And Garnett - who made an announcement at the end of the day reminding pupils to be especially careful on their way home - required teachers to more closely supervise the children as they left the building.

Garnett said that in addition to extra teacher supervision, he would like to see crossing guards at major intersections nearby and other safety precautions, such as speed bumps.

""It seems as if this was an accident waiting to happen," said a neighbor, Sherrin Fowlkes, explaining that dismissal time at the middle school has long been a cause for concern.

Fowlkes said that in the 10 years she has lived there, she has been concerned about the "droves" of children leaving the middle school every afternoon with little regard for cars.

"The children do not get out of the way. They do walk in the middle of the street, and they do dart in and out," Fowlkes said. "I say this not to defend the driver, but there is a serious problem that we've tried to talk to the school about, which is traffic, and how bad it gets when the children are let out."

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