Crash victim was 'vibrant,' loved family
Posted December 29, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — Funeral arrangements are being made for an 82-year-old woman who died when her daughter-in-law's car collided with one driven by a woman accused of driving drunk over the weekend.
The wreck happened just before 4 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Brier Creek Parkway and Glenwood Avenue in north Raleigh.
Police said Linda Ratliff of Durham was driving a Dodge minivan when she turned in front of a Volkswagen driven by Suzanne Pratt of Raleigh.
Pratt's mother-in-law, Minnie Lee Wade, of Michigan, was killed. Passenger Angelene Greenard, also of Michigan, who is Pratt's stepdaughter, suffered a broken nose and bruises.
“She (Minnie) loved family get-togethers. Whenever it had to do with family being together, she loved that,” Pratt said.
Wade was visiting her son's home in Raleigh. The three women were traveling to the Brier Creek community to admire the houses when the crash happened, Pratt said.
"Mom screamed out, 'Oh my God,' and I looked up and I don't really remember too much after that,” Greenard said.
"We hit the van and then we spun a couple of times after that, and then I think we hit the van again,” Pratt said.
Police said Ratliff ran a red light and caused the wreck.
"I said, 'Mama, are you OK?' And she said, 'No no,'” Pratt said.
Wade died of her injuries.
Ratliff, who appeared in court Monday, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, DWI, not having a driver's license and a red light violation, police said.
"I thought it was a shame that she was drunk and didn't have a driver's license and we have to suffer because of that,” said Anthony Wade, the victim's son.
"She needs to realize she took a life that was very vibrant, even at 82 years old she was very vibrant. She loved life and she took that away,” Pratt said.
Wade left four children, 16 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She will be buried in Michigan.
Ratliff was being held Monday evening at the Wake County Jail on $27,000 bond.