A shopping trip turns tragic for family during Thursday's storms

Storms cause fallen tree, claiming life of Cockeysville teen (WJZ video)

Ahjee Lawrence was sitting in the backseat of a Hyundai Sonata on the way Thursday to a Towson mall to buy clothes for her upcoming Disney cruise.

The 14-year-old Cockeysville resident was supposed to go next week with her father, Johnny Lawrence. But about 5:30 p.m., while traveling south on Pot Spring Road in Timonium, a tree fell on top of the car during a storm that created wind gusts of up to 70 mph.


Ahjee was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two other girls, ages 6 and 13, and Ahjee's mother, the car's driver, were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not deemed life-threatening.

The Lutherville Volunteer Fire Department had to use a crane to lift the tree off the car.

Ahjee, who lived in the first block of Hogarth Circle, was to enter the eighth grade student at Cockeysville Middle School this fall.

Her favorite subject was English, and she loved dancing, said her stepfather, Pierre Thomas, 39. She wanted to be a hip-hop choreographer when she grew up.

More than 20,000 BGE customers were without power and parts of several major highways were shut down Thursday after severe storms passed through.

"She was a sweet, sweet, caring, girl," Thomas said Friday. "She was humble, generous, and really, really shy, but she would give you the clothes off her back."

Ahjee loved fashion, Thomas added, and was interested in designing clothes.

She lived with her mother, Waketa Thomas, stepfather and her 6-year-old half-sister, Shiloh Thomas. She was born in Jersey City, N.J., and moved with her family to Towson in 2009 and then to Cockeysville in 2014.

"She was a very good kid," Thomas said. "She was a giving kid."

The family is planning a funeral, but no final arrangements have been made yet.

Alyson Tilles, Ahjee's fifth-grade teacher at Lutherville Laboratory elementary school, remembered her Friday as a sweet girl whom all the other kids loved to be around.

"I talked to a lot of teachers through text messages and Facebook just today," Tilles said, "and I think everybody's just kind of shocked that this could have happened to such a sweet, lovely girl,"

More than 30,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers lost power during the series of violent storms that struck the Baltimore area Thursday. As of 6:45 p.m. Friday, that number was down to about 3,000. Other fallen trees blocking roadways were reported in Towson and northern Baltimore City.