Woman, 2-year-old dead after driver intentionally hit them with vehicle

May 28, 2014|By Justin Fenton and Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun

Joshua Carter Sr. paced the sidewalk outside the New Union Baptist Church on West Franklin Street on Wednesday afternoon. He was still wearing a pink hospital wristband and concealing tearful eyes behind his sunglasses. Wrapped around his head was his 2-year-old son's favorite blanket.

The night before, police say, a woman steered a vehicle onto the sidewalk alongside the church in the 1900 block of West Franklin after an argument, hitting three people and killing two of them — including Joshua Jr., Carter's only child.

Also killed was Latoya Skipwith, 25, a relative of Carter. A 7-year-old girl, whose name police have not released, suffered what police said were non-life-threatening injuries.

Carter was nearby and ran to the scene, where someone held Joshua Carter Jr. as they waited for an ambulance.

"When they showed him to me, it was shocking," said Carter, 24. "My son looked at me for the last time with his eyes open, like, 'Daddy, help me.'"

Grief continued to swirl Wednesday, as relatives and neighbors struggled to come to grips with the deaths. Police have classified the deaths as homicides.

"The driver intentionally ran down the target," said police spokeswoman Sgt. Sarah Connolly.

On Wednesday, police arrested and charged Lucresha Mints.

People on West Franklin Street said they had seen the woman confront Skipwith about a man they both knew.

Carter became the youngest homicide victim of 2014, the first under the age of 14. Seven youths under the age of 18 have been killed this year in Baltimore. There were four at this time last year.

Elissha Jefferson, the great-grandmother of the slain boy, said police were communicating little with the family.

"We've heard nothing," Jefferson said. "If they're not saying a lot because they are working on some leads, come to us and say that. Don't just leave us in the dark."

Helen Whitfield, who said she was Joshua's grandmother, stood on the sidewalk next to the New Union Baptist Church and traced the path of the car, which was marked with orange spray paint by police crash investigators. She peered down into a concrete stairwell, where witnesses said the victims were thrown after being hit by the car.

Pictures taken before the crash Tuesday night show the stairwell surrounded by a metal grate. Only a portion remained Wednesday afternoon. One pole holding a roof over the stairwell was bent at a 90-degree angle. The roof sagged.

At the bottom of the stairwell was a patch of blood, with a teddy bear and flowers placed in the corner.

"This is where my niece died. She died right there. She died right there," Whitfield said as she looked down into the stairwell.

Carter's mother, 21-year-old Shonice Mcdowell, said she watched helplessly as her only child was killed.

"It was the most horrible scene," Mcdowell said, gasping for breath. She recalled seeing blood flowing heavily from his body. "I couldn't believe this was happening to my child."

"I'm stuck," she said. "I feel like I'm in a dream."

Whitfield called Skipwith a "hard worker." She said she was the mother of two girls, who were not injured in the incident.

"She never hurt anybody," Whitfield said.

Whitfield was asked to describe Joshua Carter Jr.

"He didn't even have a life," she lamented.

Others described him as a talkative and bright child, who could recall the names of everyone on the block. Joshua Carter Sr. said he carried his favorite blanket everywhere, like Linus from Peanuts.

Donald Carter, the boy's uncle, said he last saw Joshua Carter Jr. a few days ago, waving and smiling at him as he drove through the neighborhood.

"This is a tough one for me," he said, before trailing off. "I work with kids, but when it's your own family ..."

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at West Franklin and Monroe streets.

jfenton@baltsun.com


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