Investigators rule death a traffic homicide

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By Alice Du Pont

The Florida Highway Patrol and the Gretna Police Department are trying to piece together what happened the morning of Aug. 5 that left 17-year-old Quanterrius Deonte Bush dead on U.S. 90, a few miles west of Quincy.

A report released by FHP stated that Bush was struck by an unknown vehicle and that his body was found in the eastbound lane around 4 a.m. A passing motorist notified FHP that a body was in the road at the intersection of Betty Boo Lane and Highway 90, according a Gretna police officer.

Family and friends gathered at the Brown Street home of Bush's grandmother, Mary Betts, in Gretna and talked about "Quan," as he was known in the community. His mother, Towanda Barnett, was surrounded by aunts, cousins and coworkers as they tried to make sense of the tragic accident that took the life of her eldest son, who celebrated a birthday barely 2 months ago.

"He was a good boy. He was always playful. He was like any other child his age. He liked to play with his younger cousins and he liked to play basketball. He wasn't on the team at school but liked to play in the neighborhood," Barnett said, as she fought back tears and recalled the last time she saw him alive.

Barnett said when she went to bed the night of Aug. 4 he was in bed at their Midway home. She said the two had returned home from Gretna Tuesday night where she attended choir rehearsal and he visited his grandmother.

"About 8 o'clock this morning a policeman came to my door. He asked if I was Miss Betts and I told him I was, then he asked me if I knew Quanterrius Bush and I said that was my grandson. I asked him what was the matter and he said maybe I ought to sit down. That's when he told me Quan was dead. I can hear him saying that now," Betts said.

Members of St. Paul Primitive Baptist Church, where the family was active, said he was a faithful member. He sang in the youth choir and male chorus, served as an usher and was a member of the male ministry.

In three weeks Bush would have been returning to school at East Gadsden High. Bush hadn't talked much about going back to school but he was ready, Barnett said.

Brian Best, Gretna's chief of police, said the case has officially been ruled a traffic homicide.

Anyone with information on this fatality is asked to call the FHP at 850-414-8061 or the Gretna Police Department at 850-856-9460.