Local News

Friends of deacon killed in hit-and-run pray for driver's arrest

Posted March 30, 2012 3:06 p.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2012 6:35 p.m. EDT

— The friends of a Durham man who died after a three-vehicle wreck on Monday said Friday that the arrest of the hit-and-run driver who caused the wreck would help ease their grief.

A man driving a 2012 black Ford Edge sped through a red light on South Driver Street and struck a Suzuki on Angier Avenue, police said. The impact of that crash caused the Suzuki to collide with a Cadillac, which then crashed into a building at the corner of the intersection.

The driver of the Cadillac, Weldon Lewis Williams, 76, died Tuesday at Duke University Hospital. The Suzuki's driver, whose name has not been released, was critically injured in the wreck.

The driver of the Edge, a rental car with New Jersey license plates, fled on foot and hadn't been arrested as of Friday.

"You are still wondering, who did it? Where are they? Won't they step forward?" said Robert Williams, a longtime friend of Weldon Williams.

The two men, who aren't related, served as deacons at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Durham.

Church pastor Rev. Dennis Davis agreed that finding the hit-and-run driver would help his congregation deal with Weldon Williams' death.

"It won't bring him back, but it will be a little bit of consolation, at least, to know that they didn't get away scot-free, that they have been apprehended," Davis said. "They are probably not aware of it, but they've taken a great man out of this world."

Friends said Weldon Williams was quick with a hug, a kind word and good advice.

"He was just a lovable guy. I call him the ultimate deacon. He was very helpful," Davis said.

"He was just a jewel to me and the whole deacon board because he was just something like a crane. He would lift the burdens off you," Robert Williams said.

They said Weldon Williams lived his life for others, noting that he spent last weekend comforting a fellow church member who had lost a relative. Now, they and the rest of the congregation have to deal with his death.

"We're numb. You wouldn't expect him to pass in that way," Davis said.

"It was just like a log or something had just dropped on me," Robert Williams said. "He's going to be missed. He's really going to really be missed."

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the hit-and-run driver's arrest.

He is described as a black man in his early 20s, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall and about 145 to 160 pounds. He was wearing his hair in dreadlocks and is believed to frequent the Walltown area.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 919-560-4935, extension 29409, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.