Local News

Fayetteville Police Close to Nabbing Hit-and-Run Suspect

Posted July 30, 2000

— A hit-and-run driver took a mother away from her 10-year-old child. Debbie Wilks, 45, gave her life to save her son from a dangerous driver.

Fayetteville police say they are close to arresting a suspect. Police have found the black Ford Escort involved in the hit and run incident. Meanwhile, a family is trying to figure out how they are going to help a little boy grow up without his mother.

Debbie Wilks did not drive, but that did not stop her from getting around. But every time she crossed busy streets such as Bragg Boulevard she took a chance.

Last Friday, it cost her her life.

Away from the sounds of speeding cars and busy highways is a quiet, peaceful road in Hope Mills. This is where Wilks grew up. It is a place where her family still talks about the good ol' days.

"We all played together and ate supper at each other's house and we were all close knit," recalled her cousin, Gerald Melvin.

Last Friday, that bond was forever broken.

During a night of washing clothes at a local laundromat, Wilks and her 10-year-old son Curt crossed busy Bragg Boulevard to get something to eat. They never made it back from the restaurant.

"At first it's just disbelief. You can't believe it. Then all the other emotions come into play," Melvin said.

A hit-and-run driver struck mother and son. Wilks' older son saw it happen.

"I can't imagine someone being able to live with themselves, go on and carry on with their life knowing you've destroyed someone else's life and the lives of their family," Melvin said.

A witness said it appeared Wilks shielded Curt from the car's impact. He survived, but Wilks died during surgery.

"Debbie had her faith in God and that's what helps me deal with these things. And she had hers. I know where Debbie is now," Melvin said.

Fayetteville police are working a lead in the fatal accident. They hope to make an arrest soon.

Family and friends will celebrate Wilks' memory Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Cliffdale Christian Center.


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