Rhett Leverett, Marymount professor, fatally struck in NW

(Photo: Marymount University)

A Marymount professor has died after he was struck by a vehicle along 6th Street in Northwest Washington Monday morning.

Sixty-year-old Rhett Leverett was walking his dog in his Penn Quarter neighborhood when he was struck by a car. He was a staple in his community and at Marymount.

Marymount Provost Sherri Hughes said, "I think we are all in shock and really devastated at the loss of such a warm colleague, friend, teacher."

Leverett was a man well-known in the District’s Penn Quarter, loved by virtually all he encountered. As he was out for his regular morning walk with his dog Beth, he was struck and killed by a motorist.

Police say the driver suffered a medical episode, jumped the sidewalk in her car at 6th and E streets and struck Leverett. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do because he was part of the building,” said Lenora Pruitt, a security guard.

Leverett lived at the Lafayette on D Street; he was one of the building’s original tenants. His neighbors and the building employees are heartbroken.

“He was our resident Santa Claus - very, very friendly and outspoken. He cared about the community tremendously,” said Cornell Melton, building manager.

“Never knew a stranger and contagious happiness. You saw him and if you were in a bad mood you felt guilty for being in a bad mood,” said Katherine Kennedy, a neighbor.

Pruitt last saw Leverett as he left for his walk. Now she regrets not stopping to talk to him.

“As he was getting off the elevator, I was getting on to take care of some business and we didn’t have our talk today and so he never got back to this building to talk to me today. He never got back,” said Pruitt.

Matthew Shank, president of Marymount University, released a statement to students and faculty Monday:

"A member of our faculty since 1991, Mr. Leverett was known as an outstanding teacher and advisor. He will be remembered for many things, including his kindness, his sense of humor, and his unfailing dedication to Marymount University and our students."

The Major Crash Unit is investigating.