HOPKINTON — Next door to the home of Shayne Desroches, neighbors gathered to remember him. The 13-year-old often played basketball in the driveway, they recalled, even when it got cold. He played pickup games with his friends, or just practiced by himself. He was a good kid, they said.
“He’s going to be missed by a lot of people,” said one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous in deference to the boy’s grieving family. “An entire community is going to be affected for a long time.”
Desroches — an eighth-grader at Hopkinton Middle School, which is just a few blocks from his house — was riding his bike home Wednesday afternoon when he was fatally struck by a car driven by a teenager. Neighbors said he was hit as he tried to cross the busy two-lane street, Route 85, that runs in front of his house.
“I’m more angry than sad,” said another neighbor. “People drive way too fast here. I just wish they would slow down.”
Many children in the neighborhood ride their bikes home from school on the sidewalk, neighbors said. But those who live on the other side of the street, which does not have a sidewalk, have to cross without a crosswalk.
Law enforcement officials said the circumstances of the accident are under investigation to determine whether criminal charges are warranted. The driver was a 16-year-old girl, who was not identified. She was not injured in the crash, but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
“My heart goes out to both families,” said another neighbor. “I’m very upset for the young girl, too.”
Neighbors said a passerby administered CPR to the boy shortly after the crash, which happened just before 5 p.m. Desroches was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
At Hopkinton Middle School Thursday, grief counselors were on hand through the day, and at the high school a moment of silence was held in his memory.
Aamir Benincaso, a 10th-grader, said the mood at school was somber.
“It’s really a shame,” he said. Benincaso said his younger brother, an eighth-grader who was friends with Desroches, is very upset over his death.
In a message sent to parents Wednesday evening, the superintendent of schools, Cathy MacLeod, said counselors would be available as needed in the coming days.
“Our school community is deeply saddened by this loss, and we extend our sincere sympathy to the family of our student,” she wrote.
The Desroches family could not be reached for comment. Neighbors said they had not spoken with them, but vowed to support them through their grief.
“Everyone in Hopkinton knows each other,” one neighbor said. “Everyone’s kids are everyone’s kids.”
Saumya Balraj, who lives across the street from the boy’s family, said she arrived home Wednesday to a chaotic scene and only later found out what had happened. She said she did not know the boy well, but called his death a tragedy.
Across the street, mourners came to pay their respects to the family. They parked in the driveway by the basketball hoop, set low for a young boy.