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Driver in fatal south Augusta hit-and-run sought

Speeding is rampant in area, mother says

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Juanita Reese sat in a lawn chair in front of her home Sunday, squinting at the cars speeding through her south Augusta neighborhood.

Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's deputies look for evidence along Travis Road. Their search on Sunday was at the location where a vehicle killed 9-year-old Donovan L. Brown Jr. Saturday.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's deputies look for evidence along Travis Road. Their search on Sunday was at the location where a vehicle killed 9-year-old Donovan L. Brown Jr. Saturday.

"See that? They fly through here like race cars," she said.

She watched dozens of cars pass, some just giving a quick flash of brake lights at the stop sign in front of her home, but one vehicle in particular was on her mind.

It is the same vehicle deputies are searching for.

About 9 p.m. Saturday, a driver fled the scene after hitting Reese's 9-year-old son, Donovan L. Brown Jr., as the boy was about to cross the street just blocks away from his James Drive home.

Donovan, a fourth-grader at Willis Foreman Elementary School, later was pronounced dead at Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center, according to Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald.

McDonald said Donovan died of massive head injuries; he also suffered broken legs.

Deputies are still searching for the driver who struck Donovan at the corner of Travis Road and James Drive, an intersection in a neighborhood with a 40-mph speed limit and one-story houses and mobile home parks off Windsor Spring Road.

Donovan, who wanted to go to college to become an archaeologist, was walking with his 13-year-old brother, Kejuanis Reese, and a teenage friend after the boys visited the Plantation Blood haunted house several streets to the north on Wallie Drive.

Juanita Reese said the brothers were spending the weekend at their friend's house, but said she did not know they were out at night.

She said her teenage son told her that he saw Donovan begin to cross James Drive but pulled him back when he saw the vehicle driving down the road.

"Kejuanis said the car swerved to the side and hit (Donovan)," Juanita said.

McDonald said Donovan was not in the road when he was hit, but that he was in the grassy area off the road and stepped into the path of the car.

McDonald said the driver is possibly a white man who was driving a red pickup or SUV.

"For some unknown reason the driver didn't stop," he said. "You could take a million guesses as to why. He could have been drunk, no license, a habitual offender, he could be on parole, probation, you name it."

The Department of Family and Children Services was notified of the accident and will launch an investigation, McDonald said.

Donovan's body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy, and details of the accident were sent to the Child Fatality Review Board.

"Anytime a child gets hurt it's a full-blown investigation," McDonald said.

Donovan is not the first child killed by a vehicle in the neighborhood. In June, a driver killed a 2-year-old boy who ran into the road while his family played football in their yard on Boykin Road off James Drive.

Residents of the neighborhood say most drivers ignore the speed limit signs.

"I've watched a boy go by yesterday and could probably clocked him at 85 (mph)," said Kathie Hucks, a resident on James Drive.

Hucks said she stopped letting her Labrador retriever puppy, Bear, play in the lawn in front of her home after seeing cars whiz down her road.

Rodney Grant, who has lived on James Road for 20 years, said he can hear engines from his living room.

"It can be like a racetrack here," he said.

While Juanita Reese watched cars go by in front of her home Sunday, friends from church joined her to think about her son.

"(Donovan) was a rare sunshine," said family friend Sandra Cooper. "He was always smiling. We know God is going to bring the truth to the forefront. We know God will come through."

Want to help?

Juanita Reese asks that anyone who can contribute to her son's funeral arrangements do so by contacting Faith Outreach Christian Life Center at (706) 792-9662.

Comments (20) Add comment
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addisons65 10/17/10 - 02:58 am
I pray for the family and

I pray for the family and school friends of this child! I pray the police will catch the person who drove off from this grievous accident.

Abby-noll 10/17/10 - 05:54 am
Oh my goodness. This is

Oh my goodness. This is absolutely horrible. God bless the family during their time of grief.

johnston.cliff 10/17/10 - 06:07 am
A parents worst nightmare. A

A parents worst nightmare. A child that age is old enough to cross the street, but still young enough to get distracted and dart into traffic. What a horrible accident. My sympathies to the family.

overburdened_taxpayer 10/17/10 - 08:43 am
I hope they find the

I hope they find the thoughless person that left that boy after hitting him and lock them under the jail.

iLove 10/17/10 - 08:52 am
Let's not start asking

Let's not start asking question none of us have the answers to.
Lets RESPECT this family and the PAIN they are going through.
Just pray for PEACE and STRENGTH.
In Jesus' name.

Robcat75 10/17/10 - 10:50 am
May God give his fanily his

May God give his fanily his grace.
I must comment on Travis Rd. I live on this road and the traffic to include large trucks drive like it's a raceway.
This road has a speed limit of 45 mph. I live 200 ft. off the road and you can hear and see them flying down the road.
There are no speed breakers like on the other roads. This is a straight thru street like Boykin Rd. from Hwy. 25 to Windsor Spring, so they come thru our road and go what ever speed they want. I have seen a police car a few times behind a new house trying to monitor the traffic but w/this inccident it did not curtail the recklessness or speeding of this person that left a defenseless child to die. The city needs to put out the braekers they have, on our road to stop the racers and speeders and also need to inforce the radio law they have the cars music vibrates my house as far back as I live. Come on Augusta do something about our speeders!!!!!!!!

luckie 10/17/10 - 01:17 pm
Does anyone know the name of

Does anyone know the name of the little boy and what school he attends?

corgimom 10/17/10 - 02:23 pm
At 8 pm, it is black dark

At 8 pm, it is black dark outside. Most likely the driver never saw him until too late.

I hope that person does the right thing and turn himself in.

concern40 10/17/10 - 02:39 pm
I live on the end of Travis

I live on the end of Travis Rd close to Stone Rd and there is a speed limit sign with 40mph on it. I have witness people driving on this road like they are on a race track. My husband tried 3 years ago to get speed bumpers but was told that because it is a main thoroughfare that nothing could be done. Maybe the speed limit should be reduce to 35mph. May God give the family strength and the suspect turn themselves in.

CorporalGripweed 10/17/10 - 05:09 pm
Absolutely terrible. However,

Absolutely terrible. However, try to reserve judgement on the family until we hear the facts. The boy may have been coming home from a friends house two doors away in a quiet neighborhood, we just don't know yet. What's most disconcerting is the fact the driver didn't stop. This person should be the focus of the anger right now.
My sympathies and prayers to the family.

MCG2010 10/17/10 - 07:46 pm
Being a close friend of the

Being a close friend of the family, the pain is tremendous as to what we feel at this moment. Seeing him grow up from a little kid to an even bigger little kid and to now know that he is gone hurts like no other pain. We ask for prayers as we deal with this tragic in our lives. It's one thing to lose a family member, but to lose an innocent child this way it devastating. We ask for prayers all around and for everyone to hug their kids tight at night because we now have one less child to hold.

augusta citizen
augusta citizen 10/17/10 - 07:55 pm
MCG2010, let the family know

MCG2010, let the family know they are in many prayers tonight.

InChristLove 10/17/10 - 08:20 pm
Please read the article

Please read the article again. This 9 year old child wasn't alone, he was with his brother who witnessed the accident.

Him and his brother left home on Friday evening and was excepted to return home on Sunday evening. The accident occurred on Saturday evening.

MCG2010, my prayers are for you and the family of this young child. I can not even imagine what they must be going through and I pray God comforts them.

Rolling Eyes
Rolling Eyes 10/17/10 - 09:54 pm
My condolences to the family

My condolences to the family during this tough time, especially the brother who had the misfortune to having been witness to the event. Hopefully the driver is caught quickly and brought to justice.

One sentence in this story seems to contradict itself.
"McDonald said Brown was not in the road when he was hit but that he was in the grassy area near the sidewalk and stepped into the path of the car."
How could he not be in the road when he was hit but stepped into the path of the car unless the driver ran off the road?

paulbaughman28 10/18/10 - 05:55 am
I used to live in this area

I used to live in this area about 12 years ago and it was the exact same then. The county is too busy worrying about old cars in peoples' driveways there than actually improving the roads and increasing deputies patrolling that area.

KSL, I am glad than someone other than myself does a little over-parenting, but we have to remember that in order to let our children grow, we have to let them do some things by themselves. I lament the fact that we can't do this in our city anymore.

Rolling, I know exactly where they are referring to on that corner, it serves as a kind of unpaved sidewalk for pedestrians. And, yes, the driver would have had to go off-road in order to hit the child.

Ms. Reese, you have my sincerest condolences, and I hope that justice will get served.

seabeau 10/18/10 - 07:15 am
Speed Bumps by all means!!!

Speed Bumps by all means!!!

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