Boy killed while running next to MTA bus

10-year-old struck in W. Baltimore

agency, police are investigating

September 13, 2004|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Transit Administration is investigating the death of a 10-year-old boy who was struck by an MTA bus while running alongside it in West Baltimore on Saturday.

The bus was heading west on Groveland Avenue and turned right onto the 4800 block of Belvedere Ave. about 7:45 p.m. when a group of about six children who were playing in a nearby field began running toward the bus, MTA spokesman Richard Scher said yesterday.

The children were running right up against the bus when the boy apparently slipped and the right rear tire of the bus ran over him, killing him instantly, Scher said. Police identified the boy as Stewart Garland.

"I've heard mixed reports that there was possibly a ball involved of some kind," Scher said.

As the MTA's policy requires, the driver of the 33-line bus - whom the MTA would not identify - was tested Saturday for drugs and alcohol, and is not working while awaiting the results, which should arrive in two to three days, Scher said.

"There's nothing that's leading us to believe that drugs or alcohol were involved at all," Scher said.

Baltimore police also are investigating the incident, and police spokeswoman Nicole Monroe said it does not appear the driver was at fault.

The driver has more than 20 years of experience driving for the MTA. "He has certainly never been a part of something this traumatic before," Scher said, "and he has been very affected and traumatized by this incident."

Yesterday, residents of the Groveland Apartments along Groveland Avenue - where Garland apparently visited his grandparents on alternating weekends - were mourning the loss of the child who they said was full of energy and enjoyed playing football.

"He was our wake-up call - first one outside, knocking on doors, trying to get everyone outside," said Vonela Lancaster, 43.

Kevin Goodwin, 36, said friends called Garland "midget," and he and other residents laughed yesterday while gathered in the parking lot of the apartment building, recalling the boy's "midget smile" and "midget dance."

"He was little - full of energy," Goodwin said.

Scher said the MTA's "thoughts and prayers" are with the boy's family and friends.

"Unfortunately, it sometimes takes cases like this to bring an issue like this to the forefront - we do want to remind parents to make sure that their children are very aware of their surroundings," he said. "And when they are playing near or on streets that have vehicular traffic, to be sure that they are keeping their eyes and ears open all the time."

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