Solomon J. King and two friends were headed to Burger King that November night, walking along the muddy shoulder of Travilah Road in North Potomac, when a black Honda veered off the road, smashed into a mailbox and sent King sprawling with a glancing but fatal blow to the 16-year-old's lower torso.
It was raining and dark. In the panic to save King's life, his two friends, Tyler Lesser and Billy Lawder, were able to remember the car's make and color. But as the car sped away, they were not able to make out a license plate number.
Seven months have passed since King's death on Nov. 12. Police continue to investigate, following up on 86 leads. Saying they have not given up hope, they appealed yesterday to the public for information about King's death.
The best piece of physical evidence investigators have to work with is the Honda's side-view mirror, which fell off in the accident, police said.
Detective Brent Kearney said that if anyone knows someone whose passenger side mirror might have been missing around then to call police.
Kearney said the car, believed to be a black Accord made in 1998, 1999 or 2000, was traveling west on Travilah Road about 6:45 p.m. It is not known, he said, whether more than one person was in the car.
King, a junior at Thomas S. Wootton High School, was walking east with his two friends. He never strayed from the shoulder, Kearney said. He was pronounced dead the following day at Suburban Hospital.
Investigators were able to obtain a tire print from the car that killed King. Police believe that the car was not moving excessively fast when it hit King, because it would not have left the print if it were speeding, Kearney said.
No witnesses to the crash have come forward. Police and neighbors have distributed fliers asking for information about the accident, and Kearney said police have exhausted many leads in the search for King's killer.
King died in during a spate of teenage traffic deaths in Montgomery.
Seventeen pedestrians died in Montgomery in 2004 after being hit by vehicles, according to police statistics. Two were hit-and-run accidents. King's is the only one that remains unsolved, said police spokeswoman Lucille Baur.
"It's frustrating like you wouldn't believe," Kearney said of the fruitless search to find the Honda's driver. "It's like chopping on a tree and there's no chips flying.
"All it takes is one phone call" from someone who knows about the accident, Kearney said. "It takes that one little tidbit of information and [the case] blossoms."
Crime Solvers is offering an award of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in King's death, and King's family and friends are offering a separate $26,000 reward. Anyone with information about the crash can call the police department's collision reconstruction unit at 301-840-2435.