Boy, 5, survives 9-story fall Wet grass cushions impact after plunge


A 5-year-old boy was alive and crying after surviving a fall from a ninth-story window at a Baltimore high-rise housing project yesterday afternoon, the impact cushioned by a patch of rain-soaked grass.

The boy, identified by police as Calvin Ray, was reported in critical but stable condition at Johns Hopkins University Hospital after his fall from a window at the Lexington Terrace complex in the 700 block of West Mulberry Street.

"He's conscious and alert," hospital spokeswoman Debbie Bangledorf said a few hours after the boy was brought into the emergency room. Calvin's condition was upgraded from critical to stable shortly before 10 p.m.

"I say the kid's really lucky," said Baltimore Police Officer Harry Vancleaf.

Officer Vancleaf said that when he arrived at the 11-story Lexington Terrace building about 4 p.m., the boy was lying on his back on a grassy strip a few feet from a paved walkway.

"He was crying, talking, saying his leg hurt," Officer Vancleaf said. According to the policeman, Calvin was bleeding from the nose and said he could not move his left leg.

Officer Vancleaf said the child had been left under the supervision of a baby sitter while his mother, identified as Bernadette Goodman, was in Hagerstown for the afternoon.

He said the baby sitter, Renita Valentine, who said she also lived in the apartment, had noticed Calvin playing near an open window. "She told him not to do it," Officer Vancleaf said, adding that the sitter left the room and did not see the boy fall.

But a neighbor, Sandra Carter, said she saw the boy's plunge from the window. "I couldn't do anything," she said. "I froze."

Paramedics worked to stabilize Calvin's condition, and Ms. Valentine left in the ambulance to accompany him to the hospital after speaking with police.

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