Convoy and candlelight vigil for Erika Bailey, pedestrian killed by vehicle in Atlantic, is Saturday

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Erika Cherrelle Bailey

BY CLARA VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —

Community organizers will hold a vigil for Erika Bailey on Saturday, June 17, more than two months after she was hit and killed by a vehicle on Nocks Landing Road near Atlantic.

Members of the public wishing to attend should meet at 3:30 p.m. at the Mary N. Smith Cultural Center near Accomac to convoy to the site of the April 12 incident, where there will be community speakers and a candlelight vigil for the 26-year-old mother who passed away.

The vigil is “a way of remembering Erika and being sure that the community does not forget that it has been over 60 days without any further action taken by the commonwealth’s attorney,” who is investigating the case to determine whether the driver will face criminal charges, said Karen Downing, who is coordinating the event with others including Willie Justis, Marvin Giddens, and Shenia Davis.

“It’s important to me, personally, being a mother, and to us, collectively, because of the trauma of the incident itself,” Downing said. “When there is an accident, particularly involving a child, it’s one that touches a lot of people.”

Bailey died on impact around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, when she and her boyfriend, Duane Lee Turner, 39, were walking with her 6-year-old on Nocks Landing Road.

Driver Jessica Greenley Waterfield, 36, of Atlantic, was heading east in a sport utility vehicle when the SUV struck the family from behind, according to state police reports.

Turner and the child suffered serious injuries and were transported to the hospital, State Police Spokesperson Michelle Anaya said. 

Neither speed nor alcohol were contributing factors in the crash, she said. Waterfield and her 3-year-old passenger were not injured in the crash, said Anaya.

Since April 12, an online petition advocating bringing charges against the driver has drawn over 3,000 signatures and posts with the “Justice for Erika” hashtag have circulated online.

Community activists and friends of Bailey rallied outside the Accomac courthouse on June 2, anticipating an answer from Accomack’s commonwealth’s attorney about whether Waterfield will face any criminal charges.

“A lot of people were waiting … on that statement from his office,” Downing said.  “Nothing has definitively happened since the accident on April the 12th.”

She said she has not spoken to the prosecutor.

Accomack County Commonwealth’s Attorney J. Spencer Morgan is investigating the case to determine whether the driver will face charges in the incident. 

He told the Post in an interview last month that charges are still pending an ongoing investigation and that the investigation is operating “on a normal timeline.”

“One of the reasons we’re taking so much time is we want to make the right decision,” Morgan said.

Members of the public wishing to attend the vigil for Bailey should meet Saturday, June 17, at 3:30 p.m. at the Mary N. Smith Cultural Center, 24577 Mary N. Smith Road, off U.S. Route 13 near Accomac.

A police escort will assist the convoy in safely crossing Route 13 before it travels north to the site of the April 12 incident on Nocks Landing Road, where the vigil will take place, Downing said.

Attendees may bring battery-operated candles or other lights for the candlelight vigil.

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