ECSU honors memory of grad killed in accident
By Reggie Ponder
Thursday, April 19, 2018
A crowd of about 150 that included Elizabeth City State University students and community members lit candles and released balloons Wednesday evening in memory of Victoria Jalissa Bradsher-Daniel, a 2012 ECSU graduate who was killed in a pedestrian accident near the university campus on Saturday.
“Anytime a Viking falls the family feels it,” ECSU Chancellor Thomas Conway told the crowd gathered for the event.
Conway said that’s especially true when the person falls during a celebration that’s so important to the Viking family.
“There are times when words just will not do,” Conway said.
Conway was referring to Viking Fest, a campuswide celebration that was held over the weekend.
Bradsher-Daniels was struck and killed by an eastbound vehicle as she was crossing Halstead Boulevard near the Herrington Road intersection Saturday evening. Citing their ongoing investigation, police have released few details about the incident.
Matthew Jarvis, an ECSU student leader, led the opening prayer at Wednesday’s event.
City Councilman Johnnie Walton, who told the group he is an ECSU graduate who bleeds Viking Blue, led the assembly in a three-fold call and response of “Viking Pride!” Walton said he was representing Mayor Bettie Parker and the entire Elizabeth City City Council.
Winfall Mayor Fred Yates, who is a trustee of the university, encouraged the students to find strength in one another.
“It’s hard sometimes but you are a family,” Yates said.
Conway noted that Bradsher-Daniel, despite being a relatively new graduate, was already giving back by helping students following after her at ECSU. He challenged the students at Wednesday’s ceremony to find their own way of making a difference.
Student leader Brittney Lamb led the closing prayer.
Arthur Jackson, ECSU’s interim head of student affairs, said events such as the memorial vigil are important to ECSU students, as evidenced by the turnout.
“Students take this very seriously,” Jackson said. “They believe in paying homage to students who have gone before them.”
Among the crowd of mostly ECSU students at the vigil was Allie Morris, a Mid-Atlantic Christian University senior who comes from Bradsher-Daniel’s hometown of Roxboro and had been friends with her for years. Morris said she had texted back and forth with Bradsher-Daniel throughout the day on Saturday and got her last text from her friend about an hour before the accident.
Morris said Bradsher-Daniel kept talking on Saturday about how much fun she was having at Viking Fest and how glad she was to be back in Elizabeth City. Bradsher-Daniel and Morris knew each other mainly through their siblings, who were closer in age to each other, and their common participation in the band at Person County High School.
“It has been a rough couple of days,” Morris said.