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September 11, 2007
Update: Suspect in hit-and-run held without bail/ Photo
Journal photo / Mary Murphy
Dennis Cherry, center, is arraigned in District Court in Providence. On the right is public defender Robert Marro.
PROVIDENCE -- A 26-year-old man was charged today in connection with a hit-and-run accident Sunday that killed 8-year-old Ivan Jimenez and left his 12-year-old brother, Eric Jimenez, in critical condition.
Dennis Cherry was taken into custody last night when he turned himself in to police at an East Side Church parking lot.
He was charged this morning with one count of leaving the scene of an accident, death resulting, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, personal injury resulting. Cherry was ordered held without bail after his arraignment in District Court, Providence.
The police say he was driving south on Bucklin Street Sunday afternoon, when he went off the road, onto the sidewalk, and struck the two boys -- just feet from their home.
Cherry, whose criminal record includes convictions for drug-peddling, motor vehicle theft and possession of an illegal weapon, fled his 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis after the accident without calling for help for the victims, the police alleged.
The boys were walking home when they were struck, according to the police.
Ivan was bright, a hard worker, according to teachers at the Alfred A. Lima Sr. Elementary School, where counselors were made available to students yesterday.
“He often had a smile on his face” and was “always willing to help kids; since he was one of the smartest ones, he was always helping his classmates,” principal Jose Valerio said.
Eric, a seventh grader at Gilbert Stuart Middle School, suffered multiple injuries, including a head injury, and was in critical condition this afternoon at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson, with reports from Journal staff writer Amanda Milkovits and Gregory Smith
At a news conference this morning, the Providence police shed some light on the circumstances surrounding Cherry’s surrender.
The police had alerted all of its officers and dispatched a six-member team to look for Cherry yesterday, but Cherry turned himself in more than 24 hours after the incident after talking to a pastor who is a friend of his family.
Cherry had contacted Olivier Bala, the senior pastor of the Mt. Hope Community Baptist Church. Bala also happens to be Police Chief Dean Esserman’s wife’s pastor; Bala called Esserman and offered to help broker Cherry's surrender.
The idea to surrender to the chief of police, however, came from Cherry’s stepfather, who met Esserman by chance at a hospital Sunday.
Last night, six officers, including Esserman, met Cherry in the church parking lot, at 734 Hope Street.
“We gave them a minute or two to say their goodbyes and then he was placed into custody and driven to the station,” Sgt. Paul Zienowicz said.
Cherry's mother, who was at the arraignment this morning, wrote a letter, saying "Dennis, myself, and our family ask for forgiveness and ask for prayers for all involved."
Cherry is scheduled for a hearing today in Superior Court for a parole violation.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:28 PM | Permalink
laurie | September 11, 2007 1:22 PM link
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Prov resident | September 11, 2007 4:21 PM link
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keniatatis | September 11, 2007 9:02 PM link
Ted Lewandowski | September 11, 2007 9:20 PM link
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