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'He just needed a ride': Milwaukee man killed in high-speed crash after friend races at over 100 MPH

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Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 02, 2023

MILWAUKEE — It was a dark holiday season for a family torn apart by a reckless driver. Jackie Peer and Nicole Byrd say they lost their son because a friend who gave him a ride chose to speed.

On October 5, 2022, on Appleton Ave. near Lancaster, Danari Ty Peer was killed.

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Danari Peer's parents Jackie Peer (left) and Nicole Byrd stand in front of a Christmas tree decorated in his honor.

"We always say his first and the middle name because the meaning is 'our shining star has been seen,'” said Jackie Peer, Danari’s father.

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The unlit star on top of the Christmas tree in Danari Peer's honor.

For Christmas the family put up a tree with their son's favorite colors, but topped with his funeral ribbon and an unlit star to honor his name.

"We decided not to light it because he is not here,” said Jackie Peer.

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Jackie Peer holds the funeral ribbon along with Nicole Byrd for their son Danari Peer.

The 20 year-old loved baseball, cars and Harry Potter, so much that he had his own wand. But Danari's life was cut short on October 5th. That's when Danari's parents say he died after simply getting into the wrong car.

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Danari Peer

"He just needed a ride,” said Jackie Peer.

Danari found that ride, they say, from one of his former youth basketball teammates. Police say the car Danari ended up riding in started racing another vehicle along Appleton Avenue at speeds over 100 MPH before crashing, killing Danari. Police charged the driver, Danari's friend, Jaiquann McMurtry, with driving without a license, possession of cocaine, and 2nd degree reckless homicide for Danari's death.

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The tree a vehicle hit that was racing another car according to Milwaukee Police on Appleton Avenue near Lancaster. Police say Jaiquann McMurtry was driving the car at speeds over 100 mph and his passenger, Danari Peer was killed. (October 6, 2022)

"I knew it wasn't just a regular traffic accident. That Jaiquann was driving, I mean reckless wasn't even the word to use, when you are driving in a 35 mile per hour zone going 109 with no valid driving license,” said Jackie Peer.

"He did trust him,” said Nicole Byrd, Danari’s mother.

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Jackie Peer crying in his son's bedroom.

"My son didn't have the chance to make that decision for himself. He didn't have the chance to get out of the car when Jaiquann started driving that way,” said Jackie Peer.

His parents say there is not a day that goes by they are not in pain from their son's loss.

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Danari's parents, Jackie Peer (left) and Nicole Byrd (right) cry in his room looking at their son's picture.

"It has been rough for us. That's my heart,” said Jackie Peer, wiping away tears. "That's my son, man."

Danari's parents say their mission now is getting justice for their son and victims like him. They plan to petition lawmakers for tougher penalties in cases like their son’s.

Jaiquann McMurtry was not seriously injured in the crash. He's pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him and is due back in court Wednesday.

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