RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Less than 24 hours after two young adults were thrown from their car and two police officers relatively new to the force were seriously hurt, the mother of the woman killed wept in front of local news cameras.
“She was kind, loving, everyone that knew her loved her,” Tiara Williams said about her daughter, 19-year-old Tracey Williams.
Williams and 18-year-old Jeremiah Ruffin suffered critical injuries after their car collided with a police cruiser at the intersection of Bells Road and Castlewood Road just before 11 p.m. Thursday, April 7.
Heartbroken, Tiara’s head was held low as she described her daughter Friday evening.
“That was just my heart, that’s my heart, and I, and losing her, I don’t know what, I don’t know what now,” Tiara said of her daughter, whose name is tattooed on her right wrist.
For the Williams family, the grief is all too familiar. Tracey’s half-brother, Xzavier Hill, was fatally shot by Virginia State Police in 2021 after a vehicle pursuit on I-64 that ended in Goochland County. Investigators maintain Hill was armed, and a grand jury found the officers’ decision to shoot was justified.
For hours Thursday night, Tiara said she couldn’t reach her daughter by cell phone. She learned the worst Friday morning.
“About 9 o’clock, they [authorities] said they had an unidentified body at VCU [Medical Center of Virginia], and that’s when I knew that was her because that was her last place that her location pinged off of was Bells Road and I knew that was her,” Williams said, who noted the young couple had been driving for DoorDash before the crash.
Williams and Ruffin had been in a two-year relationship, according to her family.
Williams’ father, also Hill’s father, was gutted by the news overnight, and unable to speak Friday evening when 8News asked the Williams family questions.
Almost 24 hours after the deadly crash, questions of “who caused Thursday’s collision”, and “did someone fail to obey a traffic light” are still being asked.
Details remain thin, but Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said during a press conference that the officers were on the way to a burglary in process, but added, “We cannot say definitely that their blue lights and sirens were on. They had an authorization, we have some clues that that could’ve been the case.”
8News called Ruffin’s grandmother late Friday afternoon who said the 18-year-old remained unconscious and suffered brain trauma.
“He’s a good kid in a world that’s gone crazy,” she said.
The two officers injured in the crash are expected to recover, though one sustained a traumatic brain injury, according to Chief Smith.
One of the two officers, DQuan Walker, was a recent graduate of the police academy and was undergoing field training.
The second officer involved in the crash, Richard Johnson, has served in the department for two years, according to a police spokesperson.