Funeral held for teen run down by car

November 16, 2009 9:04:42 AM PST
Mourners gathered Monday morning for the funeral of an Elgin teenager who died after being struck by a car.John Keyes, 17, died more than a week ago.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Timera Branch rammed Keyes with her car on purpose. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Police say Keyes and Branch's son were both at a party the night before the incident and the two may have gotten into a fight.

Clergy pulled together a flock from disparate parts of the Elgin area Friday 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.

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 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 exuded joy mere yards from the Friday 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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