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Dad died saving his little girl

Father's last act protected 4-year-old from crash

May 7, 2008



With an out-of-control car bearing down, Joseph Richardson grabbed his 4-year-old daughter and held her up out of harm's way.

It was his last act -- and one that apparently saved his daughter's life.

Joseph Richardson, 39, was walking with his daughter Kaniyah (right) when a car jumped the curb at 95th Street and Wentworth Avenue. Angelo Thomas (left), 32, has been charged in the fatality and injury.

Richardson, a 39-year-old father of three, was killed Monday evening by the car, driven by a man who police say was drunk.

The car pinned Richardson and his daughter Kaniyah against a wrought iron fence at 95th Street and Wentworth, police said.

Kaniyah survived and was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday evening at Comer Children's Hospital, where a spokeswoman said she was doing well.

"He held the baby up to keep the car from destroying the baby, but it totally destroyed him," said Richardson's father, the Rev. L.V. Richardson.

Richardson was walking his daughter to a McDonald's for burgers at 6:40 p.m. Monday when a 1990 Chevy Cavalier jumped a curb and careened towards them, police said, citing witness accounts.

He grabbed his daughter just before the car slammed the two into the fence, police said.

Richardson was pronounced dead shortly after the crash -- a loss his twin, Timothy, said he felt before he was told.

"All day I just had a real bad gut feeling that something tragic was gonna happen," the hospital maintenance worker said. "And then when I was at home I could feel him and see, visualize what happened. . . . Right before they called me I could see him being in an accident. I knew he was gone.

"We had a very special connection and I just felt it."

The driver of the car, Angelo Thomas, 32, of the 200 block of West 95th Street, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated driving under the influence, police said. He was also cited with driving without a valid license or insurance.

Joseph Richardson, the father of two girls and a boy, all under the age of 11, was described as a devoted father. His other love was music. He was a gifted pianist and organist and performed in choirs at Cottage Grove Baptist Church and Greater Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, where his father ministers. His idols were Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, his family said.

He wanted to go back to school for a degree in music or theology and become a practicing minister, his brother said.

One of four tight-knit siblings who grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, Joseph Richardson was adept at keeping those close to him safe.

"We looked out for one another," said Timothy Richardson. But Joseph, the larger twin, did most of the looking out, Timothy admitted.

"We used to go to St. Willibrord Catholic High School, and a guy was picking on me a little bit one time and [Joseph] stepped in," said Timothy. "I tried to talk him out of fighting, but him and the guy fought and went through a window together."

On Tuesday, Timothy wanted to remember the good times.

"I am five minutes older than Joseph. But he used to always tease me that even though I'm older, he figured he was better-looking. He always got me with that one."


Joseph Richardson, 39, was walking with his daughter Kaniyah (right) when
a car jumped the curb at 95th Street and Wentworth Avenue. Angelo Thomas (left),
32, has been charged in the fatality and injury.

134 Posts
Or impressed to the level of speechlessness.

Sorry, 90% of the stuff I read on here I fail to comment on, regardless of whether it's interesting or impressive or not. I have the dominant lurker gene. Check the forum multiple times a day, don't say a word.

That's definitely a damned shame though. Very noble thing he did there. It's very frustrating that death seems to filter out so many of the good guys.

4,097 Posts

630 Posts
we need angel smileys
what an unselfish act too bad the selfish drunk too that mans life
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