A young life cut down in the streets

It's a sad story and one that is told with frequency. Once again, a negligent driver mows down a pedestrian. In this case, 5-year-old Terrell Elliot died from his injuries yesterday after a driver in a Yellow Cab struck him and his mother as they crossed a street in Logan. The mother is in critical condition. Below is the story as reported by Daily News staff writer Stephanie Farr:

William Elliott spent his Saturday celebrating his parents’ 17th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Delaware. He returned to Philadelphia early to meet his girlfriend of more than a decade and their 5-year-old son, according to relatives. But in a tragic twist of events, his family’s celebration quickly mutated into mourning when they learned Elliott’s son was killed and his girlfriend was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver in a Yellow Cab early yesterday morning.

“Whoever did this, they hurt this family real bad,” said Leah Payton, Elliott’s sister.

Dana Reynolds, 23, was holding her son, Terrell Elliott, in her arms when the two were struck by a Yellow Cab traveling east on Windrim Avenue near Lindley, as the mother and son crossed northbound at the Logan intersection around 2 a.m., police said. A police Accident Investigation Division officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it appeared the two went over the car’s hood when they were hit. Both were taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where Terrell was pronounced dead at 2:30 a.m. and his mother remained in extremely critical condition last night, police spokeswoman Officer Christine O’Brien said.

“She went into shock last night when they had to tell her what happened,” Payton said of Reynolds. “She wasn’t moving or saying anything for a while.”

Tiffany Elliott, Terrell’s aunt and Elliott’s sister, said that Reynolds was able to speak but that she was in immense pain. She said her brother learned of the tragedy when he called Reynolds’ cell phone and an unfamiliar voice answered. “He called her and the police answered,” Tiffany Elliott said. “They answered her cell phone and told us to come to Einstein.”

Nobody could believe, when they arrived at the hospital, that the little boy they affectionately referred to as “Butt-Butt” was gone, Payton said. “He was very energetic, smart and just a burst of energy,” Tiffany Elliott said.

Payton said that Terrell was especially known for his break-dancing moves. “He loved to dance. That was his thing,” she said. “He was a happy little kid, and all the kids loved him.” Terrell was the only child of Reynolds and William Elliott, 24, who met more than 10 years ago “by coincidence,” Payton said.

“From there, William and Dana fell in love,” she said. “It was like magnets with them, and when they had my nephew, that was like life for them right there.” Payton said she lives with her brother’s family in the city’s Logan section, eight blocks from the crash scene. 

“We was a happy home,” she said. Terrell was looking forward to celebrating his 6th birthday Sept. 22 and to starting as a kindergartner at Gen. David B. Birney Elementary School this fall, Tiffany Elliott said. He was even carrying a backpack full of school supplies when his life was taken, she said. About four hours after the accident, police located the damaged Yellow Cab believed to be the offending vehicle. The car, which had significant windshield and left-side hood damage, was found abandoned at 6th Street and Lindley Avenue, the Accident Investigation Division officer said. Police, who said there were a couple of witnesses to the crash, were investigating what color the traffic light was when the cabbie hit the mother and child, and whether the cab driver was speeding. By 7 last night, a person of interest had been identified in the case, although no suspects had been arrested and police were not ready to release a name, O’Brien said.