Maryland State Police said a 16-year-old pedestrian was involved in a fatal crash in Prince George’s County on New Year’s Day.
Derrick Staton, a resident of Clinton, Md., was crossing a busy intersection in Brandywine, Md. on Crain Highway at Chadds Ford Drive when a Metro Transit Police K9-unit vehicle struck him, police said.
The officer driving the vehicle, Gary Bottalico, was off duty and on his way to work in a marked Chevy Silverado pickup truck traveling northbound on U.S. 301 at Chadds Ford Drive when the incident happened around 1 p.m. on Jan. 1, according to police.
Authorities said a pedestrian error maybe a reason for the crash, “For reasons unknown at this time, a pedestrian reportedly walked into the street into oncoming traffic, directly into the path of the approaching patrol car and was subsequently struck.”
The road was closed for five hours after the crash as Maryland State Police CRASH Team investigated the scene. The findings are slated to be presented to Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, but when has not been specified.
Bottalico was unharmed in the accident and has been placed on administrative paid leave, officials said.
Staton, a sophomore at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., died at the scene.
“Derrick had a servant’s heart and was always willing to give whatever he had, including his time at local shelters feeding the homeless. He would never let anyone do anything without offering his help,” family members, who describe Staton as vibrant and upstanding, wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help cover Staton’s funeral expenses. As of Jan. 3, people have donated $4,020. According to the page, there is a $25,000 goal to pay for expenses.
Staton was a member of the JROTC Program as well as a basketball, football and baseball player.
The middle school is providing counseling for students after the tragic incident, “Wise Athletics mourns the loss of JV Football team member Derrick Staton. Crisis intervention is available for students in the guidance office,” the Athletics Department wrote on Twitter.