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Boy, 12, killed by car was becoming "a special man"

By KEVIN DEUTSCH
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008

Adrian Brown was just beginning to unravel one of life's great mysteries: women.
The 12-year-old had just gotten his first girlfriend, a sweet, pretty schoolmate who lived up the street and whom he giggled with as they chatted on the phone each night. Two weeks ago, he was voted "handsomest boy" at a school dance.
"I danced with so many girls," he told his mother, Terry Brown, before launching into a mini stand-up comedy routine he would sometimes perform for his family and friends. "I get my looks from you, you know."
Just as Adrian began to carve out his own path in life, a horrifying crash left him dead at Jog Road and Okeechobee Boulevard in suburban West Palm Beach Thursday afternoon. A car smashed into him as he rode a bicycle across the intersection, dragging him beneath the car for 60 feet.
"He was on his way to being a special man," said Terry Brown, 34, who spoke about her son's short but happy life while sitting in her driveway surrounded by family. "He was giving, smart, funny, everything I could have asked for."
Adrian, a seventh grader at Jeaga Middle, had a musician's ear inherited from his father, who plays guitar and drums and writes music. Adrian played trumpet in the school band, practiced drums at church, and liked to dance around the house to the music in his head.
"You couldn't help but embrace Adrian when you saw him, because he had something special about him," said his aunt, Karen Lawson, 32, who was driving to her job at Palm Beach International Airport Thursday when she saw Adrian lying still in the roadway, surrounded by lights and sirens.
Adrian loved to play soccer and was inseparable from the ball he kicked around the neighborhood after school, his family said. When it came to following sports, he gravitated toward colorful personalities like NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, whose career he followed obsessively.
"He couldn't wait to turn 16 and start driving himself," his mother said.
Adrian was riding to McDonald's to meet with friends about 11 a.m. Thursday when John Stayduhar, 78, of Lake Worth turned his 1995 Mercury Sable left from westbound Okeechobee Boulevard onto Jog Road and struck Brown, knocking him off the yellow bicycle he had borrowed from a friend.
Investigators are trying to determine who had the right of way. Charges have not been filed against Stayduhar.
Jeaga Middle had early release Thursday, with dismissal at 1:15 p.m., but it wasn't clear why Adrian was out earlier. The school had grief counselors available.
"He used to bring his friends over after school for juice and cookies," Terry Brown said. "He laughed with them. I'll miss that laugh."
Published in The Palm Beach Post from Apr. 25 to Apr. 30, 2008
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