New craft beer, memorial walk planned after Norfolk woman killed in hit and run

Posted at 4:35 AM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 06:45:51-04

HAMPTON, Va. - It was an idyllic setting at Oozlefinch Beers and Blending at Fort Monroe on August 26. Sam Sanchez was enjoying a few beers after work on the water with his longtime friend Kelly Kercheval.

"We were just talking, having a good time, and we were gonna go back and have dinner," Sanchez said.

The duo hopped on their bikes, ready to cruise to the Phoebus area where Sanchez lived.

"She was about 10 feet behind me, and we were riding and just like that the whole night changed," Sanchez explained. "I heard a crash and put my bike down, turned around and she was laying in the street."

The 36-year-old Norfolk native, mother of an 8-year-old, and an animal rights activist, was killed on impact.

Hampton Police say Kercheval was struck on the Mellen Street bridge around 8:30 p.m. The driver fled after the crash, and police are now looking for a 2006-2012 silver Mercedes SUV.

"I don't know how this person sleeps at night," Sanchez said. "Kelly was a great person, everyone loved her and she lit up a room."

Now a white painted bike adorned with bright flowers and keepsakes lights up the heavily-traveled bridge - a tribute to a life lost in a flash.

"Kelly loved football, people, her daughter, pets and pickles, and she had an infectious laugh," Sanchez said.

Pickles, Kelly's favorite food, are now the focal flavor in a new sour beer that will debut Friday at Oozlefinch - the last place she and Sam sat two months ago.

"We have seen marriages and relationships and friendships built through this place, but this was a first for us," said Oozlefinch founder Russell Tinsley.

Tragedy at first, but turning into a tribute.

"'I'm here to eat all the pickles and laugh,' that's the name of the new beer," Tinsley said.

The beer will be released on October 30, the same day the brewery will host a memorial flower walk with the community to the bridge where Kelly took her last breath.

"It is a great way to show love and support, but also bring awareness out there to the person who still hasn't been caught," Tinsley said.

The family is offering a $3,000 reward to anyone who can lead police to the person responsible. They say they won’t stop fighting until justice is served.