A car hit a woman and her 4-year-old daughter yesterday as they crossed a busy Prince George's thoroughfare, killing the girl instantly and sending her mother to a hospital in critical condition.
The mother and daughter were crossing Indian Head Highway in the western part of the county, returning from their daily trip to a gas station convenience mart, where they had just bought two bags of potato chips, a bag of cheese curls and a Slim Jim.
Witnesses told police that the driver of the car, a gold Jaguar, had a green light and was not speeding.
The mother and her daughter, Simia Soloman, were walking along Palmer Road and crossed the street just to the right of a crosswalk about 1:30 p.m.
A source close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing identified the mother as Carlene Graham, 27.
Simia was walking to the right of her mother and was dragged about 100 feet by the Jaguar, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman.
"It appears they walked against the pedestrian signal," Richardson said.
Richardson said four people, including Graham and Simia, began to cross the street at the same time. But the other two pedestrians, whom police identified only as a woman and child, stopped and went back to the sidewalk.
"The other two continued," Richardson said, referring to Graham and Simia.
A woman whom police did not identify was driving the Jaguar with several children in the back seat, police said.
Employees at the Texaco station and convenience mart that Graham and Simia frequented, employees said the pair had walked several minutes from their Fort Washington apartment down the hill to the store for snacks every day for the better part of three years.
Yesterday started out no different.
The pair arrived at the convenience mart and bought the treats. Simia, as always, stepped up on a ledge below the counter so she could see the cashier and smile at him, said Surenra Rimal, who works behind the glass-enclosed counter.
"She was a very sweet girl," said store manager Ali Imran. "Every time I saw her, she would pick up her little hand and wave."
Imran said Graham also has a daughter a year older than Simia, but it was unclear if the older child was in the store yesterday. He said many people from the apartment complex up the hill come down to his store because it is the closest one in the area.
He said Graham and Simia had been coming since before Simia could walk.
"I will miss seeing her," he said. "It's sad. They were regular customers."
Simia was at least the third young child in Prince George's struck by a car and killed while crossing a street this year.
On May 16, Katrina Carter, 8, was killed in District Heights as she crossed County Road sporting the new white sneakers with black trim that her father had just purchased for her. A 76-year-old man driving a car didn't see the child until it was too late.
A week and a half later, a 2-year-old child was killed after being hit by a van in New Carrollton. The child was hit by the van as it pulled into a driveway of a home in the 6700 block of Auburn Avenue.