Community Mourns Hit-and-Run Victim - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/23/04

Community Mourns Hit-and-Run Victim

Community members lit candles and planted a cross. Community members lit candles and planted a cross.

Four-year-old Janeay Mitchell died around 5:30pm yesterday. She was riding in a car Sunday when police say another driver, 13-year-old Donald Mitchell (no relation) stole a car and slammed into hers. Mitchell, already being charged with accident, now faces more charges as a family and a neighborhood still try to make sense of what happened in their community.

Neighbors and friends came out to pray for Janeya last night. Teddy bears, candles and shards of glass marked the corner of Paulsen and Gwinnett Streets, where Janeya was critically injured Sunday night, the victim of a hit and run.

Donald Mitchell is being held in the Chatham County Youth Detention Center. He's already facing many charges in connection with the accident, and could face even more today when he goes to court.

"The death tonight opens the door for further charges," said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Bucky Burnsed. "Serious charges, if filed, could include vehicular homicide."

At last night's vigil, grief-filled eyes stared into the darkness, sadly knowing their friend and playmate isn't coming home. The family and surrounding community is still trying to make sense of what happened, not knowing what the future may hold for either family.

"They're dealing with the death of a four-year-old child, and tomorrow, the 13-year-old who is responsible for this will be back in court," Burnsed said. "And the court system will be dealing with it from here on out."

Mitchell will be back in court today to hear all the charges against him and could be tried as an adult.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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