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Queens Chronicle

Girl’s family suing motorist who killed her

Zhaneya Butcher, 6, was chasing ice cream truck when she was struck

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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:13 pm, Thu Aug 4, 2011.

A man who was allegedly driving drunk when he struck and killed a 6-year-old girl in Jamaica is being sued by the child’s family, according to published reports.

Zhaneya Butcher was chasing an ice cream truck when she ran out into the street near 104th Avenue and 168th Place and was hit by motorist Lowrie Kent, who was driving a 1999 dark blue Mitsubishi Montero. The child suffered severe trauma to the head and brain in the crash and died July 7.

Kent was charged with DWI and vehicular assault, but the charges may be upgraded to vehicular manslaughter since Zhaneya died, according to published reports, which said he is being held on $25,000 bond.

Neighbor Kirt Morian who lives about 100 feet from where the girl was killed, said that speeding has consistently been a problem in the area, which lacks stop signs and speed bumps. He was sitting on a bench outside his home doing homework with his daughter when the crash occurred.

“I always tell the children to be careful when they are crossing the street,” Morian said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Morian added that after the car struck Zhaneya, she was lying in the middle of the street motionless. A family member tried to revive her, but could not.

“They thought she was dead,” Morian said. “She never recovered.”

No one answered the door on Friday afternoon at the home where neighbors said the family lived.

Zhaneya’s mother, Cherell Smith, filed a lawsuit in Queens Supreme Court suing the owner of the car, Valerie Bridges, and Kent for the wrongful death of her daughter. The document claims that the duo were negligent, careless and reckless. The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money.

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