Buxton teenager hit by car was comforted by a stranger

by: COURTESY PHOTO: WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Kamreon Burkett, 14, lies injured on the street after accidentally steering his scooter into the path of a car. Rescue personnel strapped him to a backboard and sent him to the hospital.Suzanne Denker thought it was her son.

When she saw the shoe lying in the road, near a small prone form on the pavement, she thought, “That’s my Noah,” said Denker.

According to Sgt. Bob Ray of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Kamreon Burkett was riding his scooter on the sidewalk along Northwest Oak Way without a helmet last Thursday when he jumped off the sidewalk into the street in front of a Volvo station wagon driven by an adult woman who said she was going about 20 miles per hour. Kamreon flew over the hood of the car and landed on the pavement, Ray said.

Denker knows painfully well how quickly anyone — young or old — can disappear from her life. A few weeks ago, a friend of hers accidentally drove his car off the road and died. Her shock was still fresh.

The mother of six, including 15-year-old twin boys, approached the child lying in the street.

“I heard this intense sobbing. I saw it wasn’t Noah, but I knew he was someone’s kid,” she said. Her maternal instincts kicked in.

A few people were standing near the boy, but Denker knelt down, put a shirt between Kamreon’s head and the pavement, rubbed his head and hands, and told him it would be OK.

“He kept saying ‘I’m so tired’ and ‘I’m scared’ and asking for his dad,” she said.

“Maybe people feel like they aren’t allowed to get close, like people will tell them to back away. Or maybe they’re scared of a lawsuit,” Denker said. “But it just hurt my heart. What do people do when they come upon something like this?”

She thought of the stranger who cradled her unconscious friend during his last minutes without the comfort of a familiar presence.

Kamreon's case had a much happier ending. The 14-year-old ended up with scrapes, bruises and bumps, but is otherwise doing fine.

Kamreon's dad, Steve Burkett, got a call from his girlfriend, who was supposed to pick up his son at Hanks Thriftway.

“I knew he wasn’t hurt too bad, but I was upset and went straight to the hospital,” Burkett said.

Six years ago, Kamreon was hit by a car in Dayton when he was riding his bike, Burkett said: “Sometimes his mind just gets stuck on one thing and he doesn’t pay attention.”

The accident occurred within an hour of two other serious vehicle-related accidents, including one in which an 11-year-old Aloha girl was hit by a car and killed while playing in her yard, Ray said.

Public safety professionals were busy that day. “We were scrambling,” said Ray, who hopes Kamreon's accident reminds people to wear helmets when riding bikes or scooters and to ride responsibly.

Monday, Kamreon was already passing on the lesson he'd learned: "I have one thing to say: Pay attention.”

Ray has another thing to say: “It could have been a lot worse.”

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