The 16-year-old son of a 15th District Police officer was killed Saturday afternoon in an accident in Austin while driving his father’s motorcycle without permission.
Devontae Green, a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School, was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Hospital shortly after the accident occurred at around 3:25 p.m. Oct. 25, near Central and Washington. Green collided with another vehicle while attempting to make a northbound turn from Washington onto Central.
Police charged the 33-year-old female driver with failing to yield the right of way, operating an uninsured vehicle, and driving on a suspended license. Her court date is Nov. 18. Chicago Police News Affairs would not confirm whether the boy’s father was a police officer, but family and friends said his father does work for the department.
At the time of Saturday’s accident, Ebony Ivy, the victim’s mother, thought her son was attending a home football game at OPRF high school. Green instead went to his father’s West Side home to ride his dad’s motorcycle to the game. Ivy was unaware and said it was “out of the question” that she would ever let him ride. The father was out of town.
Green was headed westbound on Washington Boulevard and was struck by the vehicle headed eastbound making a turn north on Central Avenue following a green light. According to Ivy, Green was hit as both tried to make the northbound turn.
“He tried to get up and tried to call his dad,” she said.
Green reportedly sat on the curb for a moment but then collapsed, and was later transported to Stroger Hospital where he died. Officials at 15th District Police Headquarters, 5701 W. Madison, where the father works, referred all questions about the accident to police News Affairs.
Victim loved ‘anything with wheels’
According to family and friends, Green, who grew up in Oak Park, loved to ride anything with wheels, whether it was a bicycle, skateboard or rollerblades.
“He liked cars and boy things,” said Ivy of her only child, who was born in 1992.
Calling him her best friend, she said he was always smiling and having fun. Growing up in Oak Park, he also attended Irving Elementary School and Percy Julian Middle School. Those who knew him said he was a friend to many.
“He got along with everybody,” said Ivy, an Oak Park native and 1994 OPRF graduate. “He had no enemies, no trouble with people. He was so outgoing, athletic and well-mannered.”
Green played football and was on OPRF’s wrestling team his sophomore year, but had to stop because of a nagging shoulder injury suffered in the eighth grade while playing football. But his greatest enjoyment came from rollerblading and skateboarding.
“Here’s a kid who had friends throughout the building, among athletes and in the arts,” said family friend Jacques Conway.
Green was best friends with Conway’s son. The Maywood pastor and president of Oak Park’s high school board also recalled Green’s love of riding. Though he didn’t have a driver’s license, cars were among his passions, said Conway. Green loved music and was also known as a fashionable dresser, he added, Abercrombie and Fitch being among his favorite designers.
OPRF students on Monday used fashion to pay tribute to their classmate. They sent word out on FaceBook.Com over the weekend to wear “green” at school. Both students and staff sported Devontae’s namesake color. He was a leader among students, especially freshmen, recalled Mark Vance, his summer school history teacher at OPRF. Vance said Green was a mentor to freshmen this fall who were also enrolled in the summer. It was Vance’s first time instructing him, but Green told him that his mother was one of his former students. Vance thought he was joking.
The next day, Green came back and relayed a message from his mom. During Vance’s lessons on prehistoric times, he would show the film, The Clan of the Cave Bear.
“He said, ‘My mom told me to ask you if you’re still showing that movie?’ Then I knew she had been a student of mine,” Vance recalled.
Since the accident, Ivy has received calls and text messages from well-wishers, including to her son’s phone. She’s encouraging any of his friends to call her if they need to talk or to reminisce about her son.
“Call me anytime. Don’t be scared, don’t forget him,” Ivy said.
Friends pay tribute
On Tuesday afternoon, about 20 of Green’s classmates organized a memorial at the accident site. They hugged, cried, and shared stories about their friend.
“He was like family,” said David Green, a 16-year-old OPRF junior. “We weren’t family, but we told people we were cousins. I loved him like a brother.”
The 15-minute memorial ended with friends placing yellow roses on the sidewalk on the north-east corner of Washington and Central.
Ebony Ivy encourages Devontae’s friends to call her at 773-679-000 or 773-827-6300 to share memories of her son.