CRIME

Janaya Richards, Watkins Mill sophomore, in fair condition after being hit by police car

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A Watkins Mill High School sophomore is in fair condition after she was struck by a police cruiser Friday night, according to Suburban Hospital spokeswoman Ronna Borenstein-Levy.

In a letter to the school community sent out this past weekend, Watkins Mill principal Scott Murphy said sophomore Janaya Richards was hit by a police car on Apple Ridge Road after the football game.

The letter also acknowledged that several fights had broken out in the aftermath of the game, but Murphy said they took place off-campus amidst a stepped-up police presence.

“While our primary concern rests with Janaya, her family, and our student body, I can assure you that every possible measure will be taken to ensure that Watkins Mill remains a positive, safe school environment where our students thrive and our community feels a sense of pride,” Murphy wrote in the letter.

Police say 11 Montgomery County police cruisers responded to the call regarding the fights. All 11 had lights and sirens activated, police add.

Captain Paul Starks said, "Once the girl was injured, our resources and attention went to that event."

Monday, students made a get well banner for the 15-year-old, hanging it in the entrance of the school for well wishers to sign.

"It's sad. Nobody would want to be in that situation to have that happen," said Richards' friend, Sade Twyman.

Jamar Contae and Da'Quan Simms were walking with Richards just before she was struck.

Simms recalled, "Police told us to cross the street, and everybody crossed...but she didn't make it...and it hit her and she flew 10 feet in the air."

"I think the police didn't know she was there. It really was devastating," added Contae.

Richards is described as a bright, outgoing 10th grader. Murphy says he's been talking with Richards' mother and will take the school banner to the student's hospital room Monday night.

"She's up and out of bed, alert and talking with friends and family, and doing well," Murphy added.

Counselors were available for support at Watkins Mill Monday, and Murphy said homecoming plans will continue as planned.

The accident is under investigation.

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