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Baltimore 17-year-old killed in hit-and-run Thursday was dance team captain, dreamed of opening a beauty salon

Family members say Amira Jennings, 17, loved to do her makeup and had a passion for dance. Jennings was killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run on I-695 in Rosedale, and her 18-year-old friend was injured.
Family members say Amira Jennings, 17, loved to do her makeup and had a passion for dance. Jennings was killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run on I-695 in Rosedale, and her 18-year-old friend was injured. (Wisalah Jennings/HANDOUT)

Amira Jennings dreamed of opening up her own beauty salon one day.

The 17-year-old loved to do her hair and makeup — even if she wasn’t going anywhere special, her mother said.

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“One day her hair would be blue, one minute it would be red, one minuted it’d be black. One minute she’d cut it off and go natural,” said her mother, Heather Faulkner. “She was just, she was perfect.”

Jennings was killed in a hit-and-run crash on I-695 in Rosedale in the early hours of Thursday morning. Her car had broken down, and she and a friend had gotten out of the vehicle when a car struck them both. Jennings’ 18-year-old friend was injured and was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview.

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Jennings had been through a bad crash before, her family said.

In 2010, she was in the back seat of her mother’s car when a drunk driver struck them, leaving her mother with several broken bones and her brother in need of plastic surgery. But Amira escaped with only a few scratches, Faulkner said.

Family members remembered Jennings as a kind-hearted, and sometimes goofy, young woman. She was hardworking, too, they said.

Faulkner gifted her a car last Christmas to reward her for the straight A’s she earned at Overlea High School, where she was recently named captain of the dance team.

Family members say Amira Jennings, 17, loved to do her makeup and had a passion for dance. Jennings was killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run on I-695 in Rosedale, and her 18-year-old friend was injured.
Family members say Amira Jennings, 17, loved to do her makeup and had a passion for dance. Jennings was killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run on I-695 in Rosedale, and her 18-year-old friend was injured. (Heather Faulkner/HANDOUT)

After her senior year, Jennings hoped to find an apartment of her own and attend beauty school, her mother said. She’d been working at the Checkers restaurant on Joppa Road to save up.

Jennings loved visiting her 19-year-old brother, who had his own apartment near Cedonia in Northeast Baltimore. She had driven there on Wednesday night, and her mother was there to see her off.

“She came in here and me and her sat and talked while she got her things,” Faulkner said. “And she gave me a kiss and left.”

Late that night, Jennings left her brother’s apartment with a friend to go get a snack. That’s when the crash took her life.

“Whoever this person is, they took a good person, and they just left her on the side of the road like she was nothing. That’s the hard part,” Faulkner said. “I don’t know if she died by herself.”

Police say they’re looking for an Infiniti G37, Infiniti G25 or Infiniti Q40, which had attempted to swerve around the disabled Ford when the driver struck the pair, and then fled the scene.

For now, Faulkner said, she’s preparing to buy a beautiful outfit for her daughter’s burial. Perhaps a dress, she said, since Amira never got to go to her prom.

Jennings used to take her 9-year-old brother to school in the mornings when her mother, a Baltimore County school bus driver, was already at work. Then, after school, she’d take him to go get a snack, Faulkner said.

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“She spoiled him,” Faulkner said.

Jennings’ grandmother, Myra Faulkner, has fond memories of running errands with the 17-year-old.

“She was my road buddy when I go shopping,” Myra Faulkner said. “She helps keep me up to style because I’m 70 years old.”

Amira Jennings, 17, was killed by a hit-and-run driver early Thursday morning
Amira Jennings, 17, was killed by a hit-and-run driver early Thursday morning (Heather Faulkner/HANDOUT)

The two watched Amira’s favorite television shows together, Faulkner said, like “Vampire Diaries.” Faulkner didn’t like the “teenager shows” all that much, but she’d stick around and watch anyway, so she could spend time with her granddaughter. And sometimes they’d watch Myra Faulkner’s favorites, too — the oldies.

Myra Faulkner said she’ll remember her granddaughter’s good deeds,like the way she’d paint her grandmother’s toenails when she no longer could.

Sometimes, the two would do makeup together, Myra Faulkner said, memories she’ll cherish.

“I did it with her, but she was mostly showing me how to do my face,” Myra Faulkner said. “She was teaching me.”

Her father, Wisalah Jennings, said his young daughter would “give the clothes off her back” for those she loved, and she taught him patience and kindness with the way she lived life.

“She’s definitely an angel,” he said. “She’s going to be watching over myself, her mother, her sister, her brother.”

Anyone with information on the incident can contact the Maryland State Police Golden Ring Barrack at 410-780-2700.

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