Officials identify woman killed in Charlottesville crash

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC/ABC News) — The Charlottesville Police Department continues to investigate the fatal traffic crash that occurred Saturday, at 1:42 p.m., at the intersection of 4th Street SE and E. Water Street.

The three-vehicle crash occurred on 4th Street. A Dodge Challenger was traveling south on 4th Street at a high rate of speed when it rear-ended a sedan headed south on 4th Street. The impact of that crash pushed the sedan into the minivan in front of it. The minivan had slowed for a crowd of people crossing through the intersection. The impact of the crash pushed the vehicles into the crowd of pedestrians. The Dodge Challenger fled the scene but was located and stopped a short time later by Charlottesville Police.

One of the pedestrians in the crowd struck on the street, Heather D. Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, Va., was transported to UVA Hospital, where she was declared deceased.

A GoFundMe page was set up by friends to raise money to give to her family for anything that they may need. According to the page, Heyer grew up in Greene County and graduated from William Monroe High School.

Charlottesville victim ‘always defended what she believed in,’ mother says. “Heather was a very passionate person.” Image courtesy of ABC News

ABC News spoke with Heyer’s mother who said her daughter was always “fierce about defending her beliefs.

“Heather was a very passionate person,” Susan Bro, the mother of victim Heather Heyer, told ABC News. “She had very strong beliefs, and even as a small child she was fierce about defending her beliefs.”

“She didn’t do it in a way so much of arguing, as a way so much of saying, ‘Tell me why? Tell me why I can’t do this,’ or, ‘Tell me why you believe that.'” Bro said of Heyer, who worked as a paralegal.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car rammed into a crowd during a march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 13, 2017. Image courtesy of ABC News

“At times as a small child that would be maddening, but I encouraged that in her, to be a strong independent person and to stand up for what she believed in,” said the mother. “She always believed in treating people fairly.”

Bro said she is numb over the loss of her daughter. She added that she is also conscious that she is not the only person to lose a child in Saturday’s violence.

James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man, has been arrested in connection with the incident Saturday that in addition to killing Heyer, sent 19 people to the hospital.

In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place. Fields was later charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he plowed a car into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. (Alan Goffinski via AP)

“I’ve not only lost a daughter, his mother has lost her son,” Bro said of the mother of the suspect. “She will never have her son back in the way that he was.”

“Heather’s life was not about hate,” her mother added, “and this young man who ran my daughter down mistakenly believed that hate would change the world, and it doesn’t.”

“Hate harms people, and I don’t want more hate brought by my daughter’s death,” she said. “I want peace that she would want. I want change. I want equality. I want fairness, and I want it done peacefully.”

Bro said she had dinner with her daughter about a week ago.

“We had talked about the rally, and I never asked her if she was coming or not,” she said. “I figured she probably would but I didn’t ask because I believe adult children have a right to privacy, and she is an adult.”

She learned of her daughter’s getting hurt from Heyer’s friend.

“I just got word from her best friend, who got word from one of the young women that had been with her that the hospital was trying to find her next of kin,” Bro recalled.

Now, she said, she isn’t sleeping because “every time I close my eyes I have tears running down my face.”

There were 19 other pedestrians who suffered injuries ranging from serious to minor, and were transported to UVA Hospital, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, or treated at the scene for minor injuries.

UVA Hospital tweeted earlier that ten of the people injured are in “good condition” and that nine others have been discharged.

The driver of the Dodge, James A. Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, was taken into custody and charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run.

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