Two-year-old Derrick "D.J." Clark Jr. loved to be around when his grandfather was working on cars. So when David Clark crossed the busy highway Wednesday night to work on a vehicle, D.J. wanted to follow, a family member said.
But as the youngster slipped out of his home and started to cross Telegraph Road in Severn, D.J. was struck by a car.
"He was very close to his mom and his dad and his pop," said the child's aunt, Melissa Clark of Ferndale, as cars whizzed by on the two-lane highway. "They're very shook up."
She said D.J. liked to play with the tools while his father and grandfather worked on cars.
Police said the child wandered out of his house in the 7900 block of Telegraph Road to catch up with his grandfather about 7:30 p.m., but no one knew he had left.
By the time David Clark saw D.J. at the end of the driveway, the child had started running into the road and was struck by an eastbound 2000 Honda Civic, police said.
The child was taken by ambulance to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:28 p.m.
Police said the driver, Lawrence Howard Shue, 48, of Garrett County was not speeding or under the influence of alcohol, and slammed on his brakes when he saw the child run into the street.
No charges have been filed, although the state's attorney's office will review the case.
Melissa Clark said traffic is a problem on the street, which has a posted speed limit of 50 mph and is lined with houses and businesses.
"They don't even slow down -- they speed up down this road," she said. "It's horrible how they drive up and down this road, even the tractor-trailers."
D.J.'s parents, Derrick Clark and Deborah Smith, declined to be interviewed. Friends and family were working to set up a charitable fund for the family.