The thrill of a child and a new bicycle, turned into tragedy costing the life of a Kilgore girl. Stephanie Dukes, 10 of Kilgore died in a Dallas hospital Friday night after a terrible accident Thursday while riding her bike in her neighborhood. For Paulette Halbrooks, the image of that accident that happened right in front of her at the intersection of Horton and Stone Road may never leave her mind.
"I just remember screaming oh god oh god, because I knew it was bad, and it was so hard to see, and there was nothing anyone could do," said Halbrooks. Dukes critically injured herself when she failed to stop at a stop sign and ran into a passing car.
"I had just stepped out the front door to go home when it all happened," said Halbrooks. Last night, she passed away from her injuries at a Dallas hospital. Like any child with a new bicycle, Dukes simply wanted to ride. Investigators believe she just didn't see the car that was coming down Stone Road in front of her. Duke's father is a dispatcher for the Kilgore Police Department, and her death is being felt throughout the community.
"When something like this happens to one of your own it really hits close to home, so it's been a somber mood around the police department over the last several days," said Lieutenant Roman Roberson of the Kilgore Police Department. The Dukes family has expressed sorrow not only for their loss, but for the driver of the car as well.
"Duke's family is concerned for the driver of the vehicle understanding that she didn't mean to hit Stephanie," said Roberson. They find themselves trying to make sense off the little girls death.
"Need to remember her smile her laughter, the sweet person that she is and was because that's the way she left this world," said Halbrooks. Police have determined the driver of the car was not at fault. A benefit fund has been set up in Stephanie's name. You can make donations at Citizens Bank on Main Street in Kilgore.