Sex assault second tragedy in 2 days for Detroit school

Candice Williams and George Hunter
The Detroit News

For the second time in less than 24 hours, Henry Ford High School students were dealing with tragedy when police said a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted Wednesday morning while walking to the school on Detroit's northwest side.

The incident happened around 7:55 a.m. near Avon and Trojan.

"She apparently was waiting on a friend who didn't show up," said Detroit police Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt. "We're hearing it may have been the friend who was killed last night, but we haven't confirmed that."

On Tuesday night, a 14-year-old girl died and a 15-year-old girl was critically injured after they were struck by a van on Eight Mile near Evergreen. Police still are investigating the accident, said June West, a department spokeswoman.

Police and representatives for the Education Achievement Authority, which includes Henry Ford High School, did not release the teens' names. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office identified the girl who died as Timesha Daniell-Taylor, spokesman Ryan Bridges said.

On Wednesday morning, after waiting for her friend, the teen walked across the Pitcher Woods area of O'Hair Park near the high school. As she headed to school, she was raped by a black man wearing a mask, police said.

Police describe the man in the reported rape as weighing about 180 pounds, standing 5 feet 7 inches, and wearing blue basketball shorts and a black hoodie. He drove off in a navy or dark blue Chrysler 300 with white stripes on each side and shiny rims.

"We're hearing that he's harassed other girls around there," Dolunt said. "People have seen him around but nobody called police."

Following the assault, the victim went to the school and reported the incident. She was taken to a local hospital, said Mario Morrow, spokesman for the Education Achievement Authority.

A vigil was planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school for the van accident victims, Morrow said.

"They will be praying for the victim of the car accident — the death (of the teen) — and the student in the hospital," Morrow said. "I'm sure they're going to be praying for (the sexual assault victim) as well."

Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.