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Cousin of Walmart hit-and-run victim recalls crash

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:00:58 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2013 09:05:17 AM CST
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Editor's note: The details may be graphic to some readers.

As police continue to investigate the hit-and-run that killed a young woman in front of a Greenville Walmart, a family member told NewsChannel 12 what she witnessed before and after the crash.

NewsChannel 12 talked with Breanna Bullock, the cousin of 23-year-old Jessica Anderson. Police said Anderson was hit by an SUV at about 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the parking lot of the Walmart at 4600 E. 10th St. in Greenville. The victim died early the next day.

According to investigators, 27-year-old Brandon Yaw was behind the wheel of the SUV that hit Anderson. Yaw has been charged with felony hit-and-run causing serious injury or death.

Bullock told NewsChannel 12 that it all started with an altercation between her mother's boyfriend, Ricky, and Yaw. Bullock said Ricky was walking out of the Walmart towards Yaw's SUV. That was when Yaw got out of the vehicle and allegedly punched Ricky in the nose.

Bullock said both she and Anderson were begging Yaw to stop the attack.

 "[Anderson] was banging on the hood begging him to stop," said Bullock.

Bullock said a Walmart employee also came out to try to calm Yaw down. But Yaw jumped back into his SUV and hit the gas pedal without realizing Anderson was in the way, said Bullock.

"He hit Jessica the first time accidentally... because he was looking the wrong way," said Bullock. "He was scared- apparently he was going to get in trouble for hitting Ricky in the nose.

"After he hit her the first time, he just stopped," Bullock continued. "I guess he was shocked. And he didn't even stop and get out to help her. He just ran right on over her."

Records show Yaw was previously convicted of another hit-and-run in Pitt County in 2007. Bullock said that may explain why Yaw left the scene this time too.

"I guess he thought, 'They aren't going to believe me. I've had other convictions. I've had another hit-and-run.' I guess he just believed he was going to get in trouble, so he just kept going and he ran right over her...," Bullock said.

According to Bullock, Anderson was conscious even after she was run over. Caroline, a friend of the victim, then rushed to help.

"Caroline takes her shirt off and wraps Jessica's head in it to stop the bleeding, trying to help Jesse breathe," Bullock recalled. "And I look over at Jessica and I'm like, 'Jessica, can you hear me? Can you hear me?' She can't talk. She can't do anything. But she was looking around and she was still alive and breathing."

Anderson was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she died at about 4 a.m. on Dec. 13, said police.

"No one set anyone up. No one knew that Jesse was going to get hurt," said Bullock. "And I hate it that's she's gone. And I pray that maybe in my dreams, I can talk to her, just tell her that, you know, I wish she was still here."

Yaw, who was arrested in Grimesland shortly after the crash, made his first court appearance Monday morning. Yaw told the judge he and Anderson were engaged. Bullock said the two were just dating, however.

Yaw said he wanted to get his bond reduced so he can attend Anderson's funeral. But the judge increased Yaw's bond from $25,000 to $50,000, and ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device should he be released. In addition, Yaw is forbidden to carry firearms.

Yaw faces up to five years and two months in prison if convicted of felony hit-and-run causing serious injury or death. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 2.

Like Bullock, police also said they did not believe the crash was intentional.

A fund has been set up for those who wish to donate money to help pay for Anderson's funeral.

CLICK HERE to visit the fundraiser webpage.

Donations are also being accepted at the Wilkerson Funeral Home at 2100 E. 5th St. in Greenville, according to family. At last check, no official funeral date had been set.

Anderson had previously lost her 6-month-old daughter, Harley, according to family. The child died in December 2012.

"I know [Anderson's] happy up there dancing and singing with Harley again," said Bullock.

Prior to Thursday's alleged hit-and-run, Yaw had been held in the Pitt County Detention Center 24 times, most recently on Nov. 18 on charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and misdemeanor larceny, records stated.

Since 2003, Yaw has served more than four years and two months in prison on convictions ranging from breaking-and-entering to larceny, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.