“Wishful Walk with Woon” to Demand Solutions to Hit-and-Runs & Justice, Aid for Families
The Wishful Walk with Woon that Frederick “Woon” Frazier’s mother, Beverly Owens Addison, will host on December 14 is about more than commemorating the loss of her 22-year-old son in a violent hit-and-run at Manchester and Normandie on April 10, 2018. It’s a kind of cry for help.
“I miss him beyond measure,” she says. “It’s torture.”
Woon was her only son, and she had scrapped and fought to give him the best life she could. She had gotten neighborhood gang bangers to leave him alone, she had nursed him back to health after he fell into a diabetic coma, and she had always pushed him to believe in and be true to himself.
That someone could have had so little regard for the child she had poured her whole life into – could leave him lying broken and battered in the street – is still beyond her comprehension, even a year and a half later.
But the pain in Ms. Beverly’s voice is not just tied to Woon’s loss. It’s compounded by a sense of powerlessness.
Though Woon’s killer, 24-year-old Mariah Banks, was caught in May, 2018, the case is only just now making its way through the justice system. Having to spend several hours in court every few weeks only to hear a motion introduced that further postpones the trial has worn Ms. Beverly down.
And instead of seeing improvements that would slow down notorious speedways like Manchester or Normandie, all she feels like she is seeing is more senseless death.
L.A. drivers have killed over 225 people this year, with nearly 150 of those fatalities being cyclists and pedestrians, and many of these being hit-and-runs. Poor infrastructure and wide streets that encourage speeding in lower-income neighborhoods of color means that a disproportionate percentage of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are also likely to occur in those communities. [Ms. Beverly’s Westmont neighborhood is one of the more dangerous areas for pedestrians (below).]
It’s a reality that hits home for Ms. Beverly, who can tick off a list of people that have died in her neighborhood just this year, including two men from across the street.
She had watched the younger of the two victims grow up courting a neighbor’s daughter, she says.
Just teens when they first became sweethearts, they would sit outside and talk for hours because the girl was too young to invite the boy into the house. It went on like this for years, says Ms. Beverly. Then one day they were all grown up and he had moved in.
On that fateful night this past September, he and an older neighbor were headed across Normandie (just south of her apartment) when a speeding driver plowed into them and kept going.
Ms. Beverly and her husband had rushed outside and tried to offer comfort to one of the men as he lay dying in the street.
As the family members wailed, she says she felt her own heart break all over again. She knew their pain all too well.
Suddenly, her voice hardens.
“Where the help is for the families of these victims?”
Since both men passed, she says, their family members have largely scattered, with some having to move in with extended family in order to make ends meet.
It’s a familiar struggle.
Keeping her own head above water over the last year and a half has not been easy. Woon had contributed half the rent. Now her husband’s salary and the $200 she gets in general relief barely covers the $600 rent and related bills.
Banks had been driving without insurance, so there was no money to be had there. Woon had had life insurance, but much of it had gone toward his funeral expenses. Half of the funds in the gofundme set up to help her prepare for the arrival of Frederick “3 Scoops” Frazier (Woon’s son, born last December) had been lost when collectors for medical and other debt Woon had accumulated put a lien on their shared bank account. And because Woon had not stopped at the light before turning right onto Manchester, Ms. Beverly says she was told, she was not eligible for compensation from the victims’ fund.
3 Scoops’ mother is struggling, too. She can only squeeze in a few graveyard shifts a week while taking care of her two younger siblings during her mother’s work shifts. [Besides Ms. Beverly’s care of 3 Scoops on the weekends, they have no other access to child care]. And they’ve already experienced one eviction this year.
She’s hoping the walk she will stage this Saturday will raise awareness about hit-and-runs while drawing attention to the challenges faced by victims’ families.
Starting from her home, she says, she will lead the march to the site where Woon was killed, less than a dozen blocks away. She hopes to use her megaphone to call attention not just to his death, but also to those of others in area.
She plans to have hot dogs, puff pastries, and pickles for sale to raise funds for holiday gifts for those victims’ children. And she has launched a new gofundme asking for assistance for herself so she can continue to provide a stable home and care for her grandson.
She is also putting together a petition demanding better infrastructure, justice for hit-and-run victims, and attention to the needs of victims’ families.
In this endeavor, she has been able to count on the help of Edin Barrientos, founder of the Chief Lunes bike crew that Woon used to ride with. Barrientos, who has been active in advocating for bike lanes on Manchester, translated the flyers to help reach Latino families in the area (including her neighbors). He will also be leading a bike ride to Ms. Beverly’s home at 94th and Normandie from Hoover Recreation Center (25th and Hoover) starting at 1:30 p.m., which supporters are encouraged to join.
“It is difficult to keep the will to do [all this],” Ms. Beverly says of trying to turn her pain into activism. She doesn’t know where to begin and has no experience in organizing the kind of grassroots movement she feels is necessary to put an end to these senseless deaths.
But she doesn’t see any other way to ensure Woon did not die in vain. To those reading her story, she pleads, “Come [to the event and] sign this petition. Can we make some noise? Can we come together as a society? Can somebody help me do something? Can somebody help these [victims’] kids?”
She sighs again, overwhelmed. “I have the will but I don’t have anything except the fact that my son was taken from me. I just need help.”
Those interested in attending the walk are invited to come to Ms. Beverly’s residence at 9407 S. Normandie by 3 p.m. The walk toward Manchester and the site where Woon was killed will begin at 3:04 p.m. – his time of death. The bike ride planned to meet with marchers will leave Hoover Rec. Center at 1:30 p.m. See the Facebook event page for the walk here. Find the gofundme to assist Ms. Beverly here.
For more on Woon’s case, see our previous coverage below.
- April 6, 2019: A Year after Losing Her Only Son in a Hit-and-Run, a Mother Wonders when Justice Will Be Served
- April 5, 2019: Finally: Charges Filed Against Driver that Killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier in Hit-and-Run
- July 3, 2018: Rallygoers Demanding Justice for Hit-and-Run Victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier Crash Community Meeting on Safe Streets
- June 7, 2018: LAPD Announces Arrests in Hit-and-Runs that Killed Frederick Frazier and Injured Quatrell Stallings
- May 15, 2018: Hit-and-Run Driver that Killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier Turns Herself in; Details Still Emerging
- April 18, 2018: Security Footage Shows Moments Before Frederick “Woon” Frazier Hit from Behind; Police Still Seeking Leads
- April 16, 2018: “The Car Culture that We Have Is Not Promoting Life:” Riders Gather to Remember Frederick “Woon” Frazier
- April 11, 2018: 22-year-old Killed in Hit-and-Run at Manchester/Normandie; Driver Plows Through Mourners Corking Intersection to Protest Death