CENTER LINE, Mich. – The Center Line community continues to mourn the sudden and untimely death of 5-year-old Preston Singleton.
Hundreds of family members and friends were lighting up the night with a candlelight vigil.
“This is what real love is. This is what the community is. This is what family is,” said Preston’s aunt, Rachel Draper.
Sadly, Draper witnessed the incident as she was crossing Van Dyke Avenue at the Warren/Center Line border with the 5-year-old and two of her children. She’s constantly reminded of what happened.
“I thought I was doing the right thing by staying behind them as they walked,” she said.
Police say 22-year-old Maurice Montez Sumler was behind the wheel of the Black Jeep Grand Cherokee that struck Preston after running a red light. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to the charge of leaving a scene of an accident causing death.
“It could’ve been one thing if he would’ve stopped and got out and called the cops. But when you take off and leave the scene, it’s a while different ball game,” said family friend, Michael Stehley.
Life will never be the same for Draper and other younger children who witnessed what happened.
“All Preston did was look back and he looked to the left instead of where the guy was coming,” Draper said. “He was the happiest Kid. He was never sad.”
Sumler was given a $250,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years behind bars.