Daughter learns of parents’ deaths in DWI crash while on overseas deployment

Posted at 4:36 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 16:05:37-05

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Lafrances Overton says it felt like a dream when her phone rang over the weekend while she was on deployment with the Army National Guard in Qatar.

Remonia Finney-Tazewell

"I felt as if I was dreaming and I would just wake up," she remembered. "I just really wanted to wake up. I still feel like I want to wake up."

The voice on the other end told her her parents, Remonia Finney-Tazewell and Michael Tazewell, were dead. "It was the worst phone call ever."

Overton says her unit command staff helped her quickly get a flight back to North Carolina, where she's now back at home to grieve with her brothers and sisters. "Someone took my mother away from me and my father before they're ready to leave," she said.

Police say the couple was in a crash on Sunday morning at the intersection of Halstead Boulevard and Ridgefield Drive with another car driven by Leon Demetries Walston, Jr. Court documents say Walston admitted to police that he'd been drinking and taking prescription medication. He was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, but released under $5,000 bond.

The family has questions about whether more charges will be filed. Police wouldn't comment, other than to say the investigation remains open.

Michael Tazewell

For now, the family is relying on each other and remembering their parents. Overton says her mom owned a salon in the city and was a substitute teacher for the school system. "She brightened up many lives in the community," she said.

Overton says she plans to return to her deployment, but knows coming home won't ever be the same again. "They will not be there," she said. "This is going to be hard for me as this is just the beginning."

The family says a funeral will be held this Saturday at noon at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church.