Vigil honors visiting pedestrian killed in SE crash

A vigil in D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood Wednesday night honored Abdul Seck, a pedestrian who was killed in a crash on Easter Sunday. It’s the second vigil in a week in which people mourned life lost through car accidents on D.C. roads.

Ebony Munnerlyn said Seck was her friend, visiting from New York, and that he was walking to the store for what was supposed to be a quick trip.

The D.C. police said 21-year-old Dejuan Marshall, of Southeast, ran through a stop sign at 16th and V streets in Southeast. Six people, including two children, were hurt in the crash. The police said Marshall hit two cars, one of which struck Seck, 31, as he walked on a sidewalk.

“One of the worst feelings is to say to your friend ‘Go to the store and come back.’ … And it takes too long to come back. And you feel something in your gut, that something is wrong,” Munnerlyn said with tears in her eyes during the vigil. “So you come outside and you see an accident scene that has two cars that are destroyed and you have to ask the firefighters if they’ve seen your friend.”

Munnerlyn said she had to identify her friend at the hospital.

“He had great things that he wanted to do for himself and now his family has to bury their son, which is something that a parent should never have to do,” said Munnerlyn. “I want us as drivers to be more cautious about the way that we drive. I want us to pay attention to the signs that are there. And I don’t want Abdul’s life to be lost in vain because he was a good person and he didn’t deserve the fate that he got.”

Ryan Eshelman was at Wednesday night’s vigil. As a cyclist, he advocates for safe biking and transportation that “doesn’t emphasize cars over everyone else.” Last Friday, a longtime bike advocate was killed while riding in Northeast D.C.; the crash involved a stolen van.

Maisha Riddlesprigger, principal of Ketcham Elementary School in Anacostia, said she is also concerned about the safety of the students on the roads of Ward 8.

According to a handout from D.C. cyclist and advocate Rachel Maisler, Ward 8 has suffered 32% of all traffic deaths in D.C. in 2018.

“It’s about every child, every person that lives in this community that’s affected by DDOT not paying attention to the needs of the community,” said Riddlesprigger.

Anacostia ANC Commissioner Dorcas Agyei said the neighborhood is heartbroken over Seck’s death.

“This vigil is to let him know we will acknowledge him, we will honor him, and we will make sure that this does not happen again to the extent that we can change laws,” Agyei said.

Agyei promised to work toward making the intersection where Seck was killed a four-way stop instead of a two-way stop.

“It’s important to make sure streets are safe for drivers as well as pedestrians,” Agyei said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to cover Seck’s memorial expenses.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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