Family, friends remember William Ames, call for more sidewalks and street safety measures in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Friends and family of William Devauri Ames, 32, gathered at the site of his death on Urbantke Avenue Saturday afternoon in Copperas Cove to hold a candlelight vigil and mourn, as well as remember the good times they had with him.
Ames was killed while walking in a hit-and-run accident last Monday morning in the 600 block of Urbankte, near South 7th Street. The suspected driver of the SUV that hit Ames, Lance Tyler Anderson, was arrested and charged with leaving an accident involving personal injury or death.
Ames’ friends and family are now calling upon the city to make some changes to improve pedestrian safety, with several signing a petition during Saturday’s candlelight vigil.
A memorial had been set up in the grassy area near where Ames was hit, with a white teddy bear and flowers and a cross. Those in attendance were given a fake candle to hold before placing near the bear and around a red heart a few feet away.
Ames’ family, including his younger brother Julius Miles, younger sister Jasmine Miles and their cousin Tyreek McNeil, came from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, South Carolina to honor Ames, whom they called “Dee.”
McNeil shared a memory of when he was younger and played basketball with his older cousin and ending up playing in the water with him in a park back in Philadelphia.
“He was down to do whatever,” McNeil said. “He was going to have fun no matter what.”
Julius said that his brother was the funny one of the family.
“My brother was a happy person, no matter what happened to him, anything, my brother is the type that will still bring that type of energy, like a happy energy,” Miles said. “He would never slack, he would never slouch, even if he was feeling bad, he wouldn’t want nobody else to feel bad, so he’ll still bring light to the mood, whatever.”
Jasmine shared that her older brother was musically talented. Ames rapped, wrote and created his own beats.
“He inspired a lot of us in the family,” Jasmine said. “He’s very talented.”
Ames was a big inspiration to his siblings and cousin and to anybody who met him. His favorite saying was ‘Stay positive, be happy. Don’t let negative energy tear down your positive energy,’ according to his family.
When his family found out that Ames had been killed, Jasmine said she was broken, and Julius said he didn’t believe it.
“I never would have thought my brother, D, would be the first one to go out of all of us,” Julius added.
McNeil said that the family had been expecting to see Ames at an upcoming family wedding.
“When we all found out, it was just like a punch in the gut,” McNeil said.
Jasmine added that Ames was the “glue that held this family together.”
Ames had become a member of a local Copperas Cove family as well. He had befriended Joshua Weir and his brother Mark Weir. Ames had been walking with Joshua when he was hit and killed.
Although they had first met just several months ago, Mark Weir said he felt like he had known him forever.
“He just had one of those faces and one of those energies about him,” Weir said.
Ames became known as Uncle Will to Weir’s kids and became a member of the family and was present at holidays and birthdays.
“He was uplifting. You could be in the worst mood of your entire life and he’d put a smile on your face and make you laugh,” Weir said.
Weir said he and his wife, Brandi, were going to fight to make sure Ames’ death was not in vain and that no one else died because of unsafe road conditions.
“How many more deaths need to happen or occur before the city does something?” Weir asked.
Weir created a petition to present to the Copperas Cove City Council with, asking for changes to local streets to include more stop signs, speed bumps in the residential neighborhoods, adequate sidewalks for pedestrians and proper lighting so all can be seen in the darker hours.
The location along Urbantke where Ames and Weir had been walking did not have sidewalks in certain areas.
“Our biggest thing is we want change and whatever it takes to get change, I will do it, and if I have the city backing me, that’s even better,” Weir said.
Weir said he would be at the city council meeting this evening and encouraged others to join him and let their voices be heard.
Ames’ family said they support the Weir family’s efforts to produce change after Ames’ death.
“This shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Julius said.
The family expressed their disbelief over the actions of the driver who hit Ames.
“Y’all took my favorite person in this world,” Jasmine said.
Julius said he supported the idea of more stop signs on the street, while Jasmine mentioned the speed limit.
“You don’t want nobody else to feel the hurt that we’re hurting because somebody was careless in how they were driving and hit your child,” Jasmine said. “You don’t want nobody’s mom to feel the pain that my mama’s feeling because her son got hit. You don’t want nobody to feel none of the pain that we’re feeling because we lost a cousin, a brother, a son, a friend, a father. He was just a great person all around, and y’all just took him out of this world.”
The petition can be found at: https://www.change.org/p/copperas-cover-city-council-safer-roads-for-copperas-cove?recruiter=1034426392&recruited_by_id=487215f0-37c6-11ea-a2b2-698b1d58055f&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard
There is also a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral costs that has raised $1,920 as of press time: https://www.gofundme.com/f/memorial-fund-for-william-devauri-dee-ames?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp%20share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR3Z2vznNuRlWKdhb42VQuMn_lTdgyn3xmXY3ovFKUm66A-3EgaN99PMqe4