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"Demolition derby": Baltimore neighborhood frustrated by frequent crashes

Lombard Street crash
Posted at 3:32 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 15:32:09-04

BALTIMORE — It's been almost six years since9-year-old Amirah Kinlaw was struck and killedafter leaving school in southwest Baltimore, by a 14-year-old boy in a stolen Jeep.

The accident devastated the Union Square community, and prompted some traffic-control measures - but residents say crashes and destruction have continued.

Jim Kennedy's security camera captured a hit-and-run on Lombard Street at Stricker Street Tuesday evening. The crash destroyed his neighbor's vehicle; the video shows a sedan flying into the parked car, then three people running away from the scene. (City police said both vehicles were towed to the city yard and there were no injuries reported.)

Kennedy said after Amirah's death, concrete circles were put in at the Stricker/Lombard and Stricker/Baltimore intersections.

He notes: "There were initially a lot of accidents at both (because they're not really traffic circles, just concrete circles plopped down in the middle of a square intersection). More crashes at Stricker-Baltimore, so that circle was removed about two and a half years ago. This one remains in place, but stupidly they added stop signs on Stricker Street and yield signs on Lombard Street."

The street was closed for more than a year for a BGE project and just reopened last week.

He said: "There have been non-stop accidents in the two affected blocks ever since. We also have video of previous traffic circle crashes from before the BGE street closure. Big mess."

Earlier this year, Kennedy noted sarcastically that it was nice to get a (brief) reprieve from crashes. He said: "People drive like maniacs. Our street is temporarily blocked off, but when it opens, the demolition derby will begin anew. We've had numerous crashes like the one on the video over the past few years and I don't see it stopping unless Baltimore stops setting up streets like speedways and starts setting them up like what they are: Front yards for the people who live here."

Meanwhile, Amirah Kinlaw's family settled with Baltimore police for $30,000 in 2018. A tree was planted on her behalf at Steuart Hill Academic Academyand a dedication for a memorial was held there recently - but the school will be closing permanently at the end of the next school year, after the city school board voted to surplus the building in 2023.