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Child Endangerment or Unfortunate Accident?

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I post this because many of our Scout-age youth are enamored with these things. Many have appeared in my neighborhood, darting around on the streets. My heart bleeds for any parent who loses a child. We need to learn to "just say no", or we bear the blame.



By JANIE BRYANT, The Virginian-Pilot

July 23, 2004


PORTSMOUTH Pieces of the gas-powered scooter that 15-year-old Shamar Green worked hard to buy were scattered on Academy Avenue .


His father had picked up his sons sneaker and hung it on the post of a nearby chain-link fence. He bought flowers and prepared to put a shrine there.


Winston Green stood in the street trying to make sense of Shamars fatal accident.


The only thing he was sure about was a dark, shadowy stain where his sons life had spilled away.


The teen was riding his motorized chopper-style scooter when he collided with a sport utility vehicle at the intersection of Academy and Arthur avenues about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.


The next day there was no traffic, only the quiet enclave of narrow lanes and small homes. The Churchland neighborhood still holds onto some of the charm of its rural past.


Winston Green has been back to that spot over and over, trying to picture what happened the night before.


His wife, Sandra, wanted to know what happened, too. But mostly she wished she could go back in time.


If I had it to do over again, he wouldnt have that scooter, she said. Thats for sure.


A couple of Shamars friends had the stand-up type of scooter, she said. But he wanted the miniature motorcyle style after he saw one his neighbor got.


Shamar was so excited, she said. He had to have one.


Some of the bikes are powered by electricity, while others run on gas.


Sandra Green couldnt recall exactly how much her sons scooter cost somewhere between $200 and $400 , she thought. It didnt go faster than 15 or 20 mph, she said.


Shamar worked hard to earn a good part of the money, helping his father, who has a power-washing business.


He got the miniature motorbike about three months ago and had already taken it apart and put it together again, his mother said. He was curious like that and dreamed of becoming a mechanical engineer one day.


He had finished middle school in June and was on his way to Churchland High this year.


He loved computers, basketball, fishing with his dad and cooking. He could follow any recipe or cook on the grill, his mother said.


I think his favorite was spaghetti, she said.


Everyone who knew him loved him, and he would do anything for you. He was kindhearted.


As Sandra Green talked, the midday news appeared on a soundless TV, and fresh tears came as she saw a clip of her sons scooter at the wheels of the SUV.


Police have not released the drivers name, and no charges have been filed. The investigation is continuing, said Ann Hope, a police spokeswoman.


But Hope did say that the scooter, based on the size of its motor, was illegal to use on public roads. And those that can be driven on public roads must be operated by licensed drivers, she said.


I spoke with some of the officers here, Hope said. There are a lot of scooters on the roads, and theyre being operated by kids without a license. It is a problem.


Police said the 15-year-old was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. That was a surprise to Green, who said her son usually did wear one.


He was real careful on it, she said. Thats why its so hard to believe that hes not here anymore.





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I'd consider it a little bit of both.


My neighbors have similar things and are always zooming by on them. They dart across the road whenever they want with their parents yelling at drivers for going over the speed limit by half a mile an hour saying that it would be their fault, etc


They should be banned from ALL streets.

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My heart goes out to them poor parents.

Over this summer we have lost four local teens to what are supposed to be off road or all terrain vehicles.

Our house is out in the sticks, we have a large backyard, a little over seven acres. Next-door we have two museums. One an antique farm equipment museum which isn't open very often. Only a few weekends over the summer. It covers a little over sixty acres. The other is the West Overton museum. Birthplace of Henry Clay Frick. Henry doesn't draw much of a crowd. They have about ten acres.

OJ, has wanted one of these vehicles for the longest times. We have the room and it would be OK if he didn't go anywhere that he wasn't supposed to. Of course we don't live anywhere near any of his friends. So the temptation would be there to go and visit them. I offered to buy him a horse, but he turned me down.

While as I say my heart really does go out to the parents and I don't think blame of any sort can be attached, I can't help thanking the Big Fellow upstairs for not allowing OJ to have one of these things. I will admit that there were times when I nearly did give in.

May this little Lad Rest in peace and may the good Lord comfort his parents and family.


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Surely, this was simply an unfortunate accident. Such an accident could have very well happened if the kid was on a bike, or simply crossing a street. My condolences to him and his family.

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I disagree. Illegal activity with your parents' knowledge and consent that results in death is not an "accident". The parents realize that...now. Perhaps others can learn from this. As adults, it is up to us to know what the laws are, to recognize unsafe acts and unsafe conditions (not "accidents"), and resist the temptation to keep our kids happy at the risk of severe injury or death. Not to mention the other poor driver who has to live with the fact that a child lost his life under his wheels. Regardless of fault, nothing will ever dull that memory.


Thanks for the discussion. I hope we are all more alert and aware.

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