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5-Year-Old Dies After Hit-and-Run

Police Searching for Motorbike Driver

By Nicole Fuller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 30, 2004; Page B03

A 5-year-old boy who was struck Thursday by a motorbike in a hit-and-run accident in Southeast Washington died yesterday, and a 4-year-old boy who was hurt remained hospitalized.

D.C. police went door-to-door yesterday in the neighborhood where the accident occurred, looking for anyone who could identify the driver. No arrests have been made.

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Lawrence Yelverton was pronounced dead about 4:45 a.m. yesterday at Children's Hospital. The other victim, Charles Fenwick, was in critical condition at the hospital.

Police said the boys were struck about 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Langston Place SE. They were walking with five other children and an adult caregiver to a nearby day-care center.

Witnesses said the man on the bike, whom police described as in his twenties, often had been seen in the area and fled after realizing he had hit the children. The red-and-white Honda motorbike was found soon after the accident, abandoned about a block from the scene.

The boys were being escorted from Stanton Elementary School to Young's Memorial Day Care Learning Center on Alabama Avenue SE, less than a half-mile away. They were hit in a courtyard of the Woodland Terrace housing complex. Residents there said speeding motorbikes are commonplace in the neighborhood.

Herbert B. Chambers, pastor of Young's Memorial Church of Christ Holiness, said yesterday that the day-care provider regularly picked up seven students from Stanton Elementary and brought them back to the church. Her route usually would not take them through the Woodland Terrace courtyard, he said, but Thursday she took a detour that led the children through the area.

Chambers said the provider had stopped along the walk to help another child, who apparently had been beaten. She decided to walk that boy home through Woodland Terrace, taking the other children along, before heading to day care.

"Everyone doesn't agree with her detouring to help the child," Chambers said. "In this case, it was detrimental to our children. But I think there still remains a question: What would you have done, what would I have done, not expecting the results?"

Chambers said the provider was put on leave while authorities review what took place.

Althea Yelverton, Lawrence's mother, said she was angry that her son was walking through a "drug-infested area." She went to the church yesterday and said she asked church officials, "What the heck were they doing up there?"

"He was a good little boy, and he loved the Lord," said Yelverton, who lives in the 2300 block of Hartford Street SE. "I want justice to be done, and I'm very, very hurt right now. I'm in shock."

Marcia Austin, 37, a mother of four who lives in the area near the accident, said she has been troubled by people driving recklessly on motorbikes.

"I don't understand how they can ride these motorbikes," Austin said. "You never see them on the streets. They're always in here. I've seen kids 8 or 9 driving them, and the police go right by."

Tehelia Anderson, 40, whose two teenage sons often watched Lawrence and his 7-year-old brother, said she could not understand why anyone would drive away after hitting two children.

"He's just a baby, and for someone to just hit him and leave like that -- I can't imagine what his mother's going through," Anderson said. "It's a sad situation."


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