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Posted at 9:04 PM ET, 06/ 3/2010

Boy hit, killed by vehicle in NE D.C.

By Erica Johnston

This post was updated at 9:30 a.m. Friday

A 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington Thursday evening, D.C. police said.

The boy darted into the street between two parked cars in the 1600 block of Montello Avenue at about 6:50 p.m., police said. He may have been chasing a ball.

He was taken to a hospital before being pronounced dead.

The driver stayed at the scene, officials said.

-- Clarence Williams and Mike McPhate

By Erica Johnston  | June 3, 2010; 9:04 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC  | Tags:  boy, northeast, struck  
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Very sad for all involved.

"chasing a ball into the street"

Parents, let's talk to our kids again about this.

Posted by: jethro1 | June 4, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Scary, the exact same thing almost happened to me two days ago. I was driving and a kid ran out in front of me and I slammed on the brakes. The weird thing was no parents were visible anywhere, I got out and asked the kid where his house was and he pointed to one. I told him he shouldn't run out in the street and we talked about that for a minute. Another neighbor came out and I informed her, she grunted at me and the kid ran off. Almost gave me a heart attack, I wanted to scream a the kid but knew that wouldn't help. I will go back there tonight and see if parents are visible anywhere, am just curious how feral the kids there are...

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | June 4, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Having not been there, I can't pass judgment on the driver (nor the kid), but it is worth noting that the speed limit there and on almost all residential streets in DC is 25 mph. There is a good reason for that.

Children are not just small adults. They do all sorts of things that adults say, correctly--but uselessly, that they "shouldn't" do. And we adults know that. That's why we don't let four-year-olds get driver's licenses. Anybody who is old enough and mentally competent to get a driver's license has a special responsibility to create an environment in which when kids screw up, they don't lose their lives because of it. Yes, parents, by all means, go talk to your kids about chasing balls into the street. But still, when you're behind the wheel, and there are kids playing in the street or on the sidewalk or in a yard a few feet away, don't act surprised when somebody who isn't even in kindergarten yet forgets what their parents told them and still chases the ball into the street. Children are not small adults.

A couple miles an hour over the speed limit doesn't feel like much from behind the wheel, and you'll probably never get a ticket for it, but for the person on the wrong side of the bumper, it can literally be the difference between life and death. A pedestrian who gets hit by a car at 30 mph is about twice as likely to die as one who gets hit at 25 mph.

Now I have no idea whether or not this particular driver was speeding. But I think it's fair to say that it's not that unusual to see people driving down Montello Avenue at way over 25 mph. It is reasonable to wonder whether or not the kid "knew any better," but it doesn't matter. We can't expect four-year-olds ot do the right thing 100% of the time. Drivers do know better, and need to act like it.

Posted by: bctef | June 4, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Stop trying to blame the drive bottom young kids shouldnt be outside by themselves anyway where were the parents

Posted by: mr_smoke21 | June 4, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

People being where they shouldn't doesn't make it ok to kill them.

Posted by: bctef | June 4, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

JimiP1's comment is racist and inappropriate and should be removed. He should be banned from commenting on the site since he has nothing to add.

My thoughts are with the family. I would like to see the police enforce the traffic laws in our neighborhood, as it might prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

Posted by: GinnyinNE | June 4, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

i get error messages every time i try to click "report abuse" for jimp1's racist comment (that includes a variation of the n-word! but made diminutive for children, how sick and insane!).

the driver is CLEARLY at fault. anyone traveling the speed limit in a residential area and observant of the street in front of them has time to brake faster than the fastest 4 year old can dart after a ball. An alert driver would have seen the ball fly into the street, then immediately decelerated (1, so as not to run over someone else's ball; 2, because errant balls are often followed by young children chasing them).

The driver should have been charged, period. Nothing says "obey the speed limit" like a criminal charge after someone KILLS a child.

Posted by: bum1 | June 5, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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