Child hit by pickup near bus

Boy, 8, in hospital as probe of Saturday fatality continues
Skid marks pinpoint an accident scene on Mesena Road near Thomson. Cassius Walker, 8, was struck by a pickup about 7 a.m. Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital, and was in critical condition.

McDuffie County authorities know who struck and critically injured 8-year-old Cassius Walker.

Richmond County authorities wish they could say the same about another case.

Trooper 1st Class Willie Ramsey of the Georgia State Patrol post in Grovetown identified the driver as Wayman Brown, 50, of the 200 block of Dunn Street in Thomson.

A patrol investigation found that Brown hit the Thomson Elementary third-grader with his 1984 Chevrolet S-10 pickup about 7 a.m. Tuesday, as Cassius was crossing the 1300 block of Mesena Road to board school bus 95-4.

The child was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was in critical condition.

The 35 pupils on the bus who saw him get hit were taken to Thomson High School, where they met with counselors and clergy members.

In Augusta, officers are still searching for the driver who killed 9-year-old Donovan L. Brown on Saturday.

Donovan had been visiting Plantation Blood and was returning home with two teenagers when he was hit while crossing Travis Road about 9 p.m. Authorities estimate he was about a half-mile from the haunted attraction.

Richmond County sheriff's Cpl. Bill Adams, of the Hit and Run Division, said one teen had already crossed the road. When Donovan tried to cross, his brother yelled for him to stop, but it was too late.

"(The driver) didn't hit the brakes until he actually hit the boy," Adams said. "We think (the driver) didn't see him until impact."

Judging from skid marks, Adams said, the driver was estimated to be driving the posted speed limit of 40 mph. After slamming on the brakes and hitting the child, witnesses said, the driver sped away.

Although witnesses agreed the vehicle was red, they differed on any further description.

"This one is a lot harder because we don't have much to go on," Adams said. "I've got one witness saying it's a minivan and another saying it's an SUV. I don't know what I'm actually looking for."

Normally, debris left in the road can help identify the type of vehicle. In this case, the only small piece of plastic left at the scene provided little assistance.

WITHOUT CLUES, hit-and-run investigations can go cold.

Authorities are still looking for a vehicle suspected in another hit-and-run Aug. 3, when a 12-year-old girl and her dog were hit while walking on the side of Clark Road about 8 p.m.

Although witnesses gave a thorough description of a dark-blue late-model Ford Mustang with racing stripes, officers were unable to find it. Witnesses estimated the driver was white and in his late teens to early 20s.

Jade Philip was not seriously injured, but her dog died.

Adams said hit-and-run drivers typically flee out of fear. Drinking or lack of a license are also factors.

"With younger kids, it seems the first thing they want to do is go home and explain what happened to an adult," he said. "Then they call us."

Generally, the Hit and Run Division sees few children struck by vehicles and even fewer who are seriously injured.

"Usually, children tend to take it a lot better than (adults)," Adams said. "Their bones won't break quite as easily; they bend a little more."

Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald said Donovan died of massive head injuries and suffered broken legs.

He is the second pedestrian killed after being hit by a vehicle this year.

The first was James Wright IV, 2, who was killed June 6 when he chased a football into the road.

He and his family were playing in their Boykin Road front yard about 9 p.m.

The driver, Tuowanna Staten, swerved but hit the child, who died three days later at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Staten was pulled from the vehicle by the child's father, James Wright III, 26, and kicked and punched until he was pulled off by family members.

Staten was not charged, but Wright was -- with aggravated battery.

Typically, Adams said, the pedestrian is at fault for darting into traffic. That was the case with both children in the most recent cases, authorities said.

Fatalities record

Pedestrian strikes in Richmond County:

STRIKESFATALITIES*
2010** 76 2
2009 106 5
2008 90 5
2007 72 5
2006 98 7
2005 103 5

* Does not include bicycle fatalities

**as of Oct. 16

Source: Augusta Traffic Engineering Department

REWARD OFFERED

Plantation Blood is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Saturday's hit-and-run, according to a news release.

The haunted attraction is collecting money for Donovan Brown's family at its 4127 Wallie Drive location.

CAN YOU HELP?

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information on the open hit-and-run cases to call (706) 821-1080.