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Family, friends of teen struck by car wait for answers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:43 PM
Last updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:31 AM
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While staring at her nephew in his hospital bed, his head covered in stitches and his body a jigsaw of broken bones, Arlene Lewis is convinced someone out there is unable to sleep at night.

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Devontae Sims, 14, was critically injured in an April 12 hit and run. His friend, Zykeith Harris, was killed. Police are still searching for three cars involved.   SPECIAL
Devontae Sims, 14, was critically injured in an April 12 hit and run. His friend, Zykeith Harris, was killed. Police are still searching for three cars involved.

Someone, she says, had to have been watching as the two teenagers trotted across Gordon Highway close to midnight on April 12. The person driving the old Toyota Corolla must have known the car hit her nephew Devontae Sims and his friend Zykeith Harris, both 14.

Didn’t anyone care as a second and third car struck Zykeith, killing the boy and leaving Devontae critically injured, she wonders?

“You’re talking about human beings, you’re talking about running over children,” Lewis said. “What I wish they would do is think about if it was their child. How would they feel? Just turn yourself in. I don’t see how they could live with themselves if they don’t.”

Police are still searching for two vehicles believed to be involved in the fatal hit-and-run – a 1993-1997 Corolla with front end and driver side damage, and a dark color Chevrolet Impala driven by a male with the nickname “Black.” The third vehicle has not been identified.

“Being in law enforcement for over 20 years, I’ve seen hit and runs but I haven’t seen anything of this magnitude,” said Sgt. Michael McDaniel. “It appears to be an intentional thing with not just one vehicle that struck the juveniles, but the second and subsequently the third. Then you’re looking at all three leaving the scene.”

Lewis said Devontae, a seventh grade student and football player at Murphey Middle School, is distraught about Zykeith’s death and trying to understand his own survival.

Devontae stunned family and friends when he made it through despite a broken leg and arm, a cracked pelvis, shattered hip and nearly losing an eye.

But fighting to survive is nothing new for Devontae.

In 2009 Devontae’s father, Johnnie Lee Lewis, shot and killed the boy’s mother, Tonya Sims, on her front lawn before shooting himself in the head, according to police reports.

After the incident, the couple’s six children were split up among relatives.

Lewis said Devontae and his younger brother went to live with an uncle, who often left the kids at the homes of friends of friends, sometimes losing track of where they were.

“I would get phone calls at night from police officers asking me to come get them,” Lewis said.

After raising her two children and fostering eight others, Lewis, 52, adopted Devontae and his brother, Jeremiah, in 2010.

Since then Devontae has excelled in school, keeping his attendance and grades high enough to stay on the football team, said Murphey Principal Veronica Bolton.

“We love him here,” Bolton said. “Devontae is personable and always smiling. He makes everyone smile. He’s the type of kid that stops by the front office just to give the staff a hug.”

Football coach Calvin Pryor said Devontae has recently been asking about college and ways to earn scholarships to get there.

The tight-knit football team, which won the middle school district championship last year and placed fourth in a tournament in Tampa, Fla., has been floored by the incident and concerned about Devontae returning to play in August.

According to Lewis, doctors are not sure when Devontae can return home or if he’ll have to be transferred to Atlanta’s children’s hospital for treatment. Pryor said his school family is hoping it’s sooner than later.

“I just hope the person responsible does the right thing and steps up,” Pryor said. “When tragedy happens, people need answers. The only way the community can heal is through answers, and we don’t have them.”


The family of Devontae Sims is in need of support to pay for medical bills and other expenses related to his impending transfer to Atlanta’s children’s hospital.

A fund has been established at Wells Fargo in the name of Devontae Sims.

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corgimom 04/24/14 - 06:05 am
This is just sad, he's a

This is just sad, he's a CHILD. I hope the police find whoever did this.

Itsallnew11 04/24/14 - 08:42 am
Prayers for all

but I still don't understand many things; why they are that young and out at that time of night? Why there are such cold-hearted folks that they can just run someone down and not even stop to render aide? This world is a sad and scary place. Accidents happen but they become more when you are a coward and hide without acknowledging the accident.

itsanotherday1 04/24/14 - 10:18 am
I wish this child a speedy

I wish this child a speedy recovery; and dearly hope the unconscious people who left him to die get their due. This kid has had his share of hard knocks.

edit: AC writers; how about following up a couple of times with his progress.

scoopdedoop64 04/24/14 - 11:04 am
It is so sad what happened to

It is so sad what happened to these kids regardless of the circumstances. I pray for their recovery and that whoever hit them will be found. However, I doubt they will turn themselves in to police just to feel better or relieve their conscience.

Marinerman1 04/24/14 - 11:42 am
Well, One Should Be Found

Someone out here knows "Black", and where he lives. Give him up !! Thoughts and prayers to Devontae.

Navy Gary
Navy Gary 04/24/14 - 01:35 pm
I sure hope

I sure hope they find these hit and run drivers but someone needs to be asking the question: What are 14 year olds doing out at midnight crossing Gordon Highway in the first place?

rmwhitley 04/24/14 - 05:21 pm
The trash

who left these kids for dead in the street should be exterminated, IMMEDIATELY.

itsanotherday1 04/24/14 - 11:37 pm
Why were they out?

Legitimate question, but things are not always as they seem. When I was 13, my mom came to Augusta for a job to feed us. We lived with my grandmother and when the lights went out I would climb out the window and roam around until ready to go to sleep. I wasn't into crime or anything, but just sayin...

quarmail06 04/25/14 - 05:18 pm
Night Of Accident

Can anyone give me infomation on how to get in contact with the young man family? We will be happy to answer any question they may have cause we was the people who helped them that night. In the mist of helping we including my vehicle almost got hit. Also the third car was a silver BMW 745li who also lost control. I don't understand how ppl didn't see the young man laying in the road wearing a white tee. It's sad how people stopped but didn't even try to help us. I would like to meet the young man who lived that night cause we promised him that he was going to make it and help was on the way. The only thing he could say that night was man help... I didn't know his age at first but age don't matter when someone is hurt and fighting for there life. I'm just happy that God sent us that way at that time to help people in need..

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