MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A surge in speeding and reckless driving in Memphis has drivers and police concerned. But for one family, it came with deadly consequences.
It was April 15, 2020. In a matter of seconds, life was never the same for the Bonds family.
Eric Bonds still replays in his head the last words he had with his daughter over the phone.
“She said, ‘Dad I’m fixing to go to the store. I will talk to you when I come back.’ I said ‘I love you.’ That was the last thing we said to each other.”
His daughter Breann Bonds went to the store with a friend around 8 p.m. They were walking down the sidewalk on Winchester near Goodlett.
Court records state a blue Volkswagen was traveling at “a high rate of speed.” Witnesses say it was “racing another vehicle weaving in and out of traffic.”
The Volkswagen ran off the road and hit a wooden light pole and didn’t stop, continuing to drive down the sidewalk.
“She was walking with a friend and pushed her friend out of the way,” Eric Bonds said.
But Breann didn’t make it. She was hit, dragged down the sidewalk 124 feet.
“I’m just lost for words,” Eric said. “It was a dull moment. I have no feeling or nothing.”
Police pronounced her dead when they arrived. Her mother found out when someone posted about it on Facebook.
“I miss my baby terribly,” said Rosalin Bonds, who talked to us from a hospital bed after recovering from a recent stroke. “I think it’s the reason why I had my stroke, because I think about her so much. Seeing her body tore up like that.”
Breann was just 23 years old, the same age as the driver of the Volkswagen, Andrea Spencer.
Police said Spencer had a 1-year-old and 2-year-old in the car. The police report said their car seats were not properly in seat belts but the children were OK.
Spencer is now facing a long list of charges including reckless vehicular homicide. Nine days later, he got out on a $5,000 bond.
He’s still walking free.
We went to his home listed on court records to talk to him but no one came to the door.
There’s been a surge of reckless driving and illegal racing reported since the pandemic, according to Memphis Police.
It started with people meeting up in their cars and quickly evolved into spontaneous pop-up events with stunt driving and drag racing, police said.
These activities have been seen in neighborhoods in parking lots on busy streets like Summer Avenue and on the interstate. Our dash cameras caught cars speeding, tailgating and weaving through traffic at all hours of the day.
MPD says it’s called in the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the sheriff’s office for help. They’re setting up details and task forces in every precinct, trying to put an end to this dangerous and deadly trend.
Breann loved music. Her parents said she had plans to go back to school to pursue her passion. She was known as easy-going, selfless and caring.
Her father said he avoids the area where she was killed. He hadn’t been back until he returned with our crews.
And he stood there with us in hopes of getting a message across.
“What do you have to say the folks who are out there and driving like this?” he asked. “Slow down just think about if it was you. If it was you in my shoes. Somebody ran over your kid. Your mom or sister.”
Local lawmakers are trying to increase the penalties for drag racing. Next week, Memphis City Council is set to vote on three ordinances, including fines for modified mufflers and allowing police to ticket passengers, spectators and those who stage illegal racing events.
Read Part 1 of this report: Jessica explains how a surge in stunt driving and drag racing comes as traffic fatalities increase.