Devontae Green’s friends on Tuesday gathered at the site of the accident that took his life over the weekend.
About 20 of his Oak Park and River Forest High School classmates stood on the southeast corner of Washington and Central, near where Green, 16, collided with another vehicle while riding his father’s motorcycle Saturday afternoon, Oct. 25. They came after school let out for the day at OPRF. His friends hugged, cried and shared memories of their friend. Many of them knew Green, who was a junior at OPRF, since their freshmen year and others since grade school in Oak Park.
“He was like family,” said David Green, a 16-year-old OPRF junior. “We weren’t family, but we told people we were cousins. I loved him like a brother.”
Green’s father is a Chicago police officer and was out of town at the time of the accident. Green took his father’s motorcycle without his permission to ride to OPRF’s home football game Saturday. His friends noted Tuesday’s memorial was not only to remember him, but to talk about the positive impact he had in their lives.
Jacques Conway, a family friend and District 200 school board president, said it was important for Devontae’s friends to come to the scene of the accident to get closure.
“They can understand that accidents happen. It’s bringing them here to get some understanding. This is where their friend took his last breath.”
Conway told the students: “Every time you come by this place, smile for your boy.”
Green, riding westbound on Washington, was hit by a vehicle heading eastbound as the two turned north onto Central Avenue. Green initially got up and staggered to the sidewalk. He called his father on his cell phone to tell him about the accident, before collapsing.
“He had the presence of mind to call his dad,” LaMenta Conway, Jacques’ wife, told the students. “He said, ‘Dad, I wrecked your bike. His dad said, ‘It’s all right, as long as you’re OK, and we’ll talk when I get back.’ Everybody makes mistakes and we need to know that people aren’t always going to come down on you. He was able to speak to his father before he died, and that is so significant.”
Andrew Godbold, a 16-year-old OPRF junior, knew Green since freshman year; both enjoyed riding their bikes together. “Through good and bad, we were always together,” he said.
The 15-minute memorial ended with friends placing yellow roses on the sidewalk. Afterward, they had a group hug while some prayed on their knees where he died. Jacques Conway reminded them, “Don’t cry, because he’s in a better place. He had an intimate relationship with everyone standing here. That’s why you’re here.”