Father, Stone Mountain students mourn girl killed by car

His only child often changed her mind on what she wanted to be when she grew up, Anwar Bass said.

Massage therapist. Nurse. Teacher. Tanesha Leshay Williams, 14, wanted to do something to help people.

“Let me know when you get to 12th grade,” Bass said he told her.

Now, he is making plans to bury the high school freshman. He had planned to see her this weekend.

Tanesha was walking to her mother’s home after school Wednesday afternoon when police say she and two other teenagers were struck by a car that left the roadway. Tanesha, a student at Stone Mountain High School, was flown to Grady Hospital. But Bass said her life ended at the scene, near the 4600 block of Central Drive.

“It knocked the last wind out of her,” Bass said Thursday.

Students at Stone Mountain High School on Thursday mourned their classmate, who was killed when a 17-year-old driver apparently lost control of his vehicle and went onto the sidewalk, DeKalb police told the AJC.

The other two students who were struck, a female and a male, are believed to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Authorities also said the driver of the car, a dark green Crown Victoria, suffered minor injuries. It is unclear whether he is also a student.

Tanesha was quiet and reserved, her friend said Thursday.

Alexandria Stamper, 14, said she met Tanesha in the sixth grade at Stone Mountain Middle School.

“I was the only person she would talk to,” Stamper told the AJC as she was walking to school Thursday morning. “She was a very cool person when you got to know her.”

“I think she didn’t really feel that good about herself. She looked up to me. I would encourage her whenever I saw her to hold her head up because she was always walking like she was sad,” Stamper said.

Stamper picked up a teddy bear Thursday morning and added it to a memorial for Williams that students had erected at the accident site.

Grief counselors will be at the school Thursday to assist students and staff members, a school spokesman said.

While other students interviewed on Thursday said they didn’t know Williams, the fact that one of their classmates was hit by a car left some shaken.

“I just think people just gotta control their cars and know where they are going,” said Tyrelle Harrison, 17, a junior at Stone Mountain.

Harrison, who walks to school every day, decided to walk along the opposite side of the road from where the teenagers were hit, saying he felt a little uncomfortable. One of the injured students is his neighbor, he said.

“Life is short, and you don’t know when you’re going to die,” he said. “You could be here and gone tomorrow.”

Police are investigating the accident, one that some students say could have been prevented.

“You gotta think about it, that’s a child. She was 14 years old. She was a freshman, she couldn’t even finish her freshman year because a car … you don’t see any speed limit signs around here,” said Damani Potts, 17, a senior at Stone Mountain High.

Bass said family members raced to the hospital after getting news of the wreck, but it was too late. Tanesha could not be resucitated, he said.

“I saw my baby laying on the stretcher,” Bass said. “She looked like she was laying in peace.”

Bass said he punched the wall in frustration when he found out he’d lost Tanesha. It was there at Grady where she’d been born on May 17, 1995.

Funeral arrangements are not yet complete. Bass said he did not have life insurance for his daughter, and donations may be needed to help with burial costs.

Staff writer Kristi E. Swartz contributed to this report.