Mystery After Crash That Left Two Dead

He was wounded and driving his car on the outer border of control, possibly looking for help or to flee danger. She was doing what children do on a sizzling Saturday night in Brooklyn, lolling outside her building with friends.

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Kira Goddard

In the end, both wound up dead in a freakish accident. Yet her warning saved her friends.

Kira Goddard, 13, was sitting on the outer steps of the four-story yellow-brick building at 2025 Pacific Street in Brownsville, where she and some of her friends lived.

On summer evenings, they liked to while away time by gossiping, riding their bikes or playing games like manhunt, a variant of tag.

Four or five friends had joined her about 7 o’clock, after coming back from a screening of “Captain America.”

Shortly after 10, the complexion of the evening changed. Sean Lewis, 44, was driving west in his Range Rover on Pacific Street near Saratoga Avenue, the police said, when he sideswiped three parked cars. Then he halted and put his sport utility vehicle into reverse.

Spotting the erratic vehicle heading their way, Kira yelled at her friends to run.

“She said, ‘It’s reversing back — run, run!’ ” recalled Alexia Joseph, 12, one of the friends.

Alexia said she had been perched about 10 feet behind Kira. “That’s when we ran back inside, but she didn’t because she was shocked.”

Alexia said another friend held the door open for Kira, “but she didn’t come.”

“She told us to run for our lives, and she didn’t get a chance to run for hers,” said Alexia, who called her friend a hero.

Alexia said the Range Rover started backing up when it was on the west side of the street. It swooped across the street, smashed into another parked car and flipped over.

Then it plowed into Kira’s building, pinning her.

When the car crashed into the building, Alexia said glass and brick hurtled toward her and her friends.

Kira was declared dead at the scene.

Mr. Lewis, who suffered head injuries in the crash, was pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. Only then did officials discover he had been stabbed in the torso.

The Police Department said it was uncertain how he had incurred the wound.

Mr. Lewis lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with a 19-year-old daughter, one of his 11 children. But some in the neighborhood said he grew up on Pacific Avenue and used to live a few doors down from Kira’s apartment. Neighbors said he frequently visited the block to see friends.

Tunesia Shearin, 35, the mother of three of Mr. Lewis’s children and a resident of Staten Island, said she had heard that Mr. Lewis was trying to get repaid for a loan on Saturday night.

Her understanding, she said, was that earlier in the day he had been shopping for his children.

Tomika Reid, 29, Mr. Lewis’s girlfriend and the mother of one of his children, said he had been a construction worker but had not worked since 2005 because of a back injury. She said she thought that he collected workers’ compensation and had bought the Range Rover with money he received from a lawsuit over the injury.

“We’re distraught right now,” Ms. Reid said.

She said she had known Mr. Lewis for five years. “He wasn’t a street dude, fighting and arguing with all types of people,” she said.

The police said Mr. Lewis had been arrested nine times from 1984 to 2008; most of the records are sealed, suggesting they probably involved minor infractions. One arrest was for driving with a suspended license.

His license was active at the time of the accident, and his neighbors described him as responsible.

At Kira’s home, a makeshift memorial of votive candles, a stuffed animal and an amalgam of handwritten notes had been assembled on Sunday.

Her family and friends depicted her as precocious and a natural leader with a marvelous sense of humor.

“She was 13, but she thought she was a mother to the other kids,” Joyce Lovelady, 52, Kira’s mother, said. She was fielding sympathy calls and visits from friends and family.

“I feel like crying but there’s no tears,” she told a relative on the phone, adding, “A part of me is gone.”

Noah Rosenberg and Joseph Goldstein contributed reporting.

Please follow and like us: