A 2-year-old boy was struck and killed yesterday by a bus that was supposed to be taking him from a day-care center to another day school, D.C. police said.
Police identified the child struck outside the Keys of Life Child Development Center, at 1812 12th St. NW, as Andre L. Scales, of the unit block of Galveston Street SW.
Day-care worker Anne Whitley said center employees thought Andre was with other toddlers being transferred from one Keys of Life center in the basement of a Logan Circle area church to an affiliated facility in the Kalorama neighborhood. Just after leaving the alley next to the church, the driver of the school's bus looked back and saw the child lying in the alley, Whitley said.
The driver, whom police said they have not charged, was identified as Anthony L. Everett, 24, of Northeast Washington. He doubles as the center's cook.
Andre was taken to Children's Hospital, where he died shortly thereafter, according to police.
Whitley said that Andre was "a good, quiet little boy," and that he had been attending the center since he was 6 months old.
Whitley said she was fired yesterday for insubordination by the center's director, E. Smith Foster. Whitley was the only employee of the center to talk to reporters who had gathered at the scene.
Foster and other officials of the center could not be reached for comment.
Many details of the accident remain cloudy. It is not known whether school employees were present when Andre was in the alley, what the center's procedures are for loading children into the vehicle, and whether the bus was backing out of the alley or going forward.
Whitley said that just after the accident, a teacher's aide first placed Andre on board the bus, but then carried him into the school, located in the 12th Street Christian Church. She said police and an ambulance then were called to the church.
Jeff Koenreich, who lives across the street from the church and is the chairman of the area's Anthony Bowen Block Council, said he had complained to the city about the bus and cars driven by parents blocking the narrow alley.
"I look down and see the kids darting into the alley between the parked cars," he said. "Over the past 12 months the council has complained about the bus and car parking in the alley. It makes it impassable."
According to a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the center was licensed in 1988 to care for 50 children. Spokeswoman Janet McCormick said they had received two complaints about the center. One was for a "mark on a child's face," on Feb. 15, 1990, but the investigation was closed five days later when investigators could not substantiate the claim, she said.
The other complaint came recently from a neighbor, about cars blocking the alley, McCormick said.
The center, one of three run by the same company, receives financial assistance from the city. Rae Parr-Moore, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Human Services, said Keys of Life has a contract to provide service for 40 preschool children and 25 schoolchildren before and after school. In addition, the department subsidizes 36 other slots, she said.
Yesterday afternoon, Diane Curtis, after picking up her 2-year-old son, Robert Cauthen, at the center, said center employees told her nothing about the death of Andre."I am really shocked," she said. "I think they should have let people know."
Curtis said she had complained to the center last week about the center's bus dropping off her son at her home when only her 8-, 9- and 10-year old children were there. She also said she had complained in November about her son coming home without his top shirt or pants.
Rudine Dillon, who came to the center to pick up her 18-month-old grandson, Julius, said she thought the children "are taken care of very well."
She said of the death, "Accidents do happen."
Julius Smith, who has two children at Keys of Life centers, said he believes they are well-run. "We haven't had any problems at all," Smith said.