After taking her husband, Jeff, to the hospital for the flu and dropping him off at home to get some rest, Amy Williams headed toward the CVS pharmacy drive-through on East Broad Avenue (Business U.S. 74) in Rockingham to pick up medicine for him. It was Saturday night and Amy was driving her husband’s car because her mother-in-law, Emma Williams, had borrowed her car.
Driving out of the CVS drive-through, Amy saw a red fire and rescue truck racing toward the Richmond Memorial Park. As Amy was looking down the road at the scene of a collision, a second rescue vehicle sped by her toward a smashed car that looked like her own.
Amy Williams drove to the crash scene, parked at the second entrance of the cemetery, and began walking towards police officers who were on the scene. The officers informed her they had just arrived and could not tell her what was happening. “But I knew — I could tell that was my car,” she said.
Amy then called one of her best friends, David Manning II. Before Manning could arrive on the scene, the police officers approached her and informed her that it was Jody, her son, and Emma Williams, inside the car. Although they were trying to get Emma — who was conscious and talking — out of the car, Jody was gone.
Jody Williams was 9-years-old.
A shocked Amy Williams was unable to drive so she got into a car with Manning and got a ride home to tell her sleeping husband the news. Manning and another friend went back to retrieve the husband’s car, while Amy and Jeff dealt with what had happened. “It’s a senseless tragedy,” Amy said on Wednesday.
“We haven’t accepted it yet,” said Lisa Williams, Amy’s mother.
As Rockingham police continue to investigate the deadly crash that claimed the life of Jody and seriously injured his grandmother on Dec. 8, Amy and Jeff Williams prepare to bury their son.
“The one thing everyone said about him, every time they saw him, was that he was always smiling,” Amy said.
Born on June 10, 2003, Jody Alexander “JoJo” Williams is being remembered as an outgoing boy and an animal lover, who had a pet hamster named Sammy. “He was shy at first but once he got to know you, he was wide open,” Amy said of her son.
In a journal entry on Nov. 18, 2011, Jody wrote, “My favorite animal is a dolphin because dolphins can kill sharks. They can save people if sharks are coming at you.”
“He loved to play video games, Army games, and Call of Duty. He had little police cars and Matchbox cars. He could go in his room and play for hours,” Amy said.
Jody, a student at West Rockingham Elementary School, visited Emma Williams at least one day every weekend. “When he grew up he wanted to either go into the Army or be a police officer,” said Lisa Williams.
A picky eater, Jody loved McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. “That was his favorite food. When he wouldn’t eat, we’d get him to eat chicken nuggets,” Amy said.
When he was 5-years-old, Jody began playing baseball which he continued to play for the next three years. “He played outfield. His last year he played on the Hamlet E.M.S. team and they made it to the championship against Bobby’s Furniture,” Jeff Williams said.
“He had so many interests,” Amy said. His favorite TV shows were “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!”
He loved listening to Trace Adkins, The Black Eyed Peas and LMFAO, “He drove me crazy listening to their CD,” Amy said.
In school, Jody’s favorite subjects were reading and math, and he was remembered as a respectful boy.
West Rockingham Elementary School Principal Willette Surgeon said, “Jody was a very loving child towards his teachers and his classmates. He was a very well-mannered, sweet little boy. We will definitely miss him.”
Counselors from East Rockingham Elementary School, Rockingham Middle School and a social worker were brought into the school to help the students cope with the sudden loss.
“We brought in several counselors to have activities with the children, talk with them, and get them to express themselves,” said Richmond County School Superintendent George Norris.
On Friday the class will paint messages to Jody on the rock in front of the school.
The funeral for Jody will be 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Chapel at Harrington Funeral Home. He will be buried in Richmond Memorial Park.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.