Man charged after young brothers fatally hit by Sears truck

Published: Feb. 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM EDT
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Dirk Jerome Brown
Dirk Jerome Brown

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two young boys were killed when they were hit by a delivery truck Wednesday morning in west Charlotte.

Police and medic responded to the intersection of Shady Lane and West Tyvola Road around 8 a.m., according to Mecklenburg EMS.

Jeremy Brewton, 1, and Kadrien Pendergrass, 5, who are brothers, were killed, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

The driver of the Sears delivery van, Dirk Jerome Brown, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The boys were with their father, Jeremy Brewton, and infant sister and were walking to the Dixon Academy, which is near the scene of the accident.

Brewton seemed shell-shocked as he described losing two of his young children hours after they died. "I had my one year old in my hand," he said. "I'm looking at my five year old on the street.  It's like I can't get them back...they're gone."

The father said he was walking along the edge of the road with his three children, according to police. He was pushing one stroller while his 5-year-old son was pushing the other stroller.

Brown was making a right turn onto W. Tyvola Road when he hit two of the children and bumped their father.

"I felt the bump from the back, it happened so quick, I thought they [the driver] would be doing the right thing. When I turned around I seen my 1-year-old, little me, get hit," said Jeremy Brewton, the boys' father.

Both children were taken to Carolinas Medical Center where they were pronounced dead, according to police.

The father and infant girl were not injured.

A spokesperson from the Sears Holding Corporation released a statement to WBTV on Wednesday afternoon.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of these two children," spokesperson Kimberly Freely said. "We've asked our third party delivery company to fully cooperate with local authorities as they investigate this tragic accident."

The family was reportedly walking along the edge of the road when the accident happened on Wednesday morning.

Officials with the Charlotte Department of Transportation told WBTV that the city has identified a sidewalk need along West Tyvola Road from Old Steele Creek Road to West Boulevard.

The project has been put on hold until a funding source can be identified for the design and construction of the sidewalk, WBTV learned.

CDOT officials say there has been "no identifiable crash pattern along Tyvola Road between Richard and West Boulevards." Records show one request for sidewalk but no requests for other safety treatments at this intersection, officials told WBTV.

Since 1997, there have only been two pedestrian crashes before Wednesday's incident.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"Our entire city grieves for the two young children who died in a tragic accident.  The Charlotte Department of Transportation is conducting a review of the site and other areas of our city posing similar dangers to pedestrians.  Although we do not have a detailed investigation, it is also clear that drivers need to be very careful and observe the law.   This incident is a reminder of why, despite withering criticism, the City Council tripled investment in the sidewalk program in 2006.  We will examine that program carefully this year as well."

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