MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police say a driver in a stolen Dodge Challenger and his passenger ran from a deadly crash at Central and Cooper in Midtown early Tuesday morning.
Investigators said the driver in the Challenger blew through a red light at Cooper and broadsided a driver in a Chevy Sonic headed east on Central.
The young woman in the Sonic did not survive. Emily Jasper said the Challenger passed her vehicle at a high rate of speed right before the crash.
“We actually pulled to the side, and they passed us so fast the whole car shook,” said Jasper. “And the light turned red, and they went straight through the light, and her car actually went into the air.”
Jasper said she went to help the woman in the Sonic but said it appeared she died instantly in the crash. She said she watched a man and woman get out of the Challenger and just walk away.
“They did not even look back at her car,” she said. “The girl even went back and opened the door and got her purse out.”
Police said the maroon Challenger was reported stolen from Southaven, Mississippi, and said the expired tag on the car came back to a green Dodge Grand Caravan.
There is a SkyCop camera at the corner of Central and Cooper, but police have not said if it got any good images of the suspects. A surveillance camera from a business in the area did capture the crash.
“The thing that bothered me is the first cop pulled up, and I said there they are. They were walking straight down Cooper,” Jasper said. “I understand she was worried about the person in the car, but she still waited before seeing about the person in the car until the ambulance got there.”
The woman killed in the hit-and-run has been identified by a long-time family friend as 20-year-old Ava Christoper. Mary Claire White said Christoper worked for her at Sugar Ghost on Broad and has just left a celebration dinner with co-workers and friends when she was killed.
White said Christopher was a bright light and passionate person who never took herself too seriously and left her mark on so many.
“She just loved her friends and her family just fiercely,” said White. “She was just absolutely an amazing person. I just can’t say enough good things about her, and if you had this conversation with me two weeks ago, two years ago, or ten years ago, I would have said the same thing.”
White said Christoper was majoring in biology at the University of Memphis and planned to become a veterinarian. She said Christopher loved animals, and she decided to set up a GoFundMe for the Memphis Streetdog Foundation in Christopher’s name.
“I knew that there would be so many people that just wanted to be able to do something, and in this kind of situation, there is not anything really to do, and I think being able to give to something that meant so much to her help people feel a little bit better.”
White is also hoping police find the person responsible for the crash.
If you know anything that can help investigators, call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH. For more on the GoFundMe, click right here.