LIMA — Plenty has been said about the lifestyle Da’vontae Williams had chosen to live.
On Tuesday, At the site of the accident that took his life Friday, his family and friends gathered to remember the positive impact he had left on many lives.
Kelsey Shurelds, a friend of Williams, said she organized the event so everyone could come together to remember him.
“He wasn’t blood, but it didn’t make us any less closer,” Shurelds said. “He was like family.”
Williams died in an accident that occurred at 12:48 a.m. Friday at the corner of East Kibby Street and South Central Avenue. A Lima Police Department officer was attempting to stop a vehicle for suspected drug activity when the 17-year-old driver took off at a high rate of speed. The driver drove through a red light and struck the vehicle that Williams was a passenger in, according to police officials. Williams later died at St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Many people commented on what they remembered most about Williams, and the most common theme was that he liked to make people laugh and that he never knew a stranger.
“He was a very caring person,” Jasmine Banks said. “He treated everyone like friends. He just wanted the best for everyone.”
His father, Paul Emerson Curtis Jr., said Williams was a good person and kindhearted. He also felt that the Lima Police Department acted irrationally.
“This is a high-traffic area,” Curtis said. “The Police Department needs to be more considerate about pedestrians and most of all the citizens. They could have just got a tag number and caught up with them later.”
Williams’ pastor, the Rev. Arnold Manley, said Williams was a well-natured, friendly individual. He said Williams had accepted Christ at 13 years old and that he had baptized him at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.
“He loved cars and he loved sports,” Manley said.
DeMarkus Upshaw, a cousin to Williams, said the vigil was important so people had positive memories.
“We wanted to do something in a positive light,” Upshaw said. “He was cocky, but he was a caring guy who loved everyone.”
Upshaw said he hoped people would learn from the tragedy and watch out for everyone around when decisions are being made.
Joyce Boddie, Williams’ grandmother, said the accident was senseless, saying police should not be making high-speed chases through such a busy intersection.
“Now our family is hurt, and the other kid’s family is hurt too,” Boddie said.
Several people spoke and said they felt race also played a part in the accident. One speaker said you could pick up a Reader’s Digest or listen to Rush Limbaugh to see how black people were observed. He said y0ung blacks needed to keep from putting themselves in peculiar positions.
“If you got weed in your car, or beer in your car, stop riding with it,” he said. “Get the s—- out of your car. You are a target.”
Manley said it was time for the black community to come together.
“There are too many of us coming together like this,” Manley said. “They are saying that black males are only good for toting guns and selling dope. They are saying our young black women are only good for having babies. We already know these police officers don’t like us. We have to stop this tonight.”