Vigil held for teen run down by car

November 13, 2009 3:04:18 PM PST
Family and friends gathered in an Elgin parking lot on Friday to pray for a murdered teenager.Seventeen-year-old John Keyes was run down with a car driven by the mother of another teen.

Timera Branch, 33, is now charged with murder.

Clergy pulled together a flock from disparate parts of the Elgin area to bring meaning and clarity to the death last Sunday of John Keyes.

"When one is affected, we shall all be hurt. When family is hurt the whole community should be hurt," said Pastor Leonard Williams, Jr., Spates Temple Church of God In Christ.

At the center of the hurt is family of John Keyes. The young man known as Lil' Cash had four sisters, and he was the baby of the family. His death has rocked their world.

"I wish I would have jumped in front of the car. I would give my life for any one of my family members...he meant the world to me," said Deandra Keyes, victim's sister.

Elgin police say several witnesses saw 33-year-old Timera Branch drive her car into Keyes last Sunday following a fight her son had with Keyes the night before.

The community fears the scars such a collective memory might have.

"You're looking for parents to be the solution to a lot of these problems and here you have them being the cause," said Fran Cella, Gifford Park Association.

It is a worry for residents of the formerly gang-infested complex, a converted schoolhouse, where children exude joy -- mere yards from the vigil. "It was just a violent act and I think it hits at the heart of all of us," Il. Rep. Keith Farnham, (D) 43rd District.


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