WORCESTER – A community gathered on a street corner Saturday in memory of a 13-year-old girl.when the speeding stolen SUV he was riding in ran a red light and struck two other cars.
Those who turned out were not passing judgment.
“Today is about nothing and no one but the families as well as the children who may have been affected by this,” said community activist Latoya Lewis.
Four other teens in the SUV were seriously injured, including a classmate of 12-year-old Adrian Browne-Jackson.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to handle it and trying to get through it together as friends,” Brown-Jackson said.
The accident has sparked an angry debate this week, with some of the teens’ relatives claiming that police first went on a dangerous chase and then took their time getting to the scene of the accident. Police say there was never a manhunt or delayed emergency response.
On Saturday night, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty just wanted to talk about the loss of young lives.
“We offer our support and prayers to the families, to the children who are involved. They are our children and that is why we are here today,” Petty said.
On Saturday, friends and classmates of the teens were invited to write messages on canvas to them, hoping they would cheer up those in hospital and bring some comfort to the family of the girl who was buried on Saturday.
“We want to be able to send this to the family so that when the children recover and come home, they can see all the support that the community had for them,” Lewis said.
It was an awkward vigil in which all five teenagers are charged with breaking the law when this tragedy occurred. But one parent was quick to point out that healing and forgiveness are important lessons.
“You know, they go back to school in a few weeks, and it’s a life-changing event for all of them. And they’re boys,” parent Makaliah Brown said.
A 15-year-old boy remains in critical condition and still in a medically induced coma.