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‘She was a good soul’: Family and friends pay tribute to woman killed in hit-and-run

Anna Bradshaw and son Thomas Ramirez are shown in a photo from the Marsh Swamp Free Will Baptist Church member directory. Ramirez hopes his mother’s death will call attention to the importance of work zone safety. Contributed photo

Anna Bradshaw’s son has many good memories of his mother and said he’s already missing so many things, including the smell of her favorite perfume, Beautiful. On Sunday afternoon, he said he also misses her phone calls and hugs. 

“She gave the best hugs ever,” Thomas Ramirez told the Times. “And when you hugged her, she exuded love and you felt it all over. Whenever she hugged me, I knew whatever I was going through didn’t matter.”

Bradshaw, a North Carolina Department of Transportation employee, died Friday morning when a hit-and-run driver struck and killed her on U.S. 264 Alternate.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Jordan Lamm said the driver got out of the car and spoke with another DOT worker, saying he was sorry and that he didn’t see Bradshaw. Lamm said the driver left when the NCDOT worker went to call for help.

After searching throughout the day, troopers found the car Friday night and arrested Jamari Marquis Powell, 31, of Bailey, according to N.C. State Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Knox. 

Powell was charged with felony hit-and-run and taken to the Wilson County Detention Center, where he was jailed under a $20,000 secured bond. Powell remained in jail Sunday afternoon.

RELATED STORY: Troopers seek driver in fatal hit-and-run

Ramirez said he hopes the hit-and-run crash that claimed his mother’s life will raise awareness of work zone safety throughout the nation.

Jamari Marquis Powell

“Those people you see working have names and families that love them deeply,” he said in a statement. “Please be mindful of them and pay attention.”

Bradshaw, 60, worked in the NCDOT’s Wilson County maintenance office. 

“Anna was a dedicated 11-year employee who will be greatly missed by her NCDOT family,” the department said in a Facebook post.

Lamm said Powell’s car struck Bradshaw while she held a sign with two-way “stop” and “slow” messages to direct traffic around a tree partially blocking the highway near Neverson Road outside Sims. 

Bradshaw was a lifelong resident of the Rock Ridge community.

“Her grandfather Dr. Thomas Gavin Bradshaw came here in the 1920s to be the attending physician for Rock Ridge and Sims and brought our family here from Virginia,” Ramirez said.

Others from the Rock Ridge area said they will also miss their longtime friend.

“What I remember most is she was always so glad to see you every time you’d run into her,” said Lynn Tucker Kyle. “She was a good soul.”

Kyle went to school with Bradshaw and they barned tobacco together in their youth. 

“Anna was always happy, always smiling,” she said.

Wendy Davis also grew up knowing Bradshaw. 

“Anna was made from an old-fashioned thread, and growing up, hard work was nothing for her,” Davis said. “She was one of the hardest, toughest working women I knew, yet kind and caring. I would put her up against any man concerning her work. She was a survivor of breast cancer and life. She’d get knocked down, and she’d get back up with determination.”

Davis added, “Anna was also a visitor; she loved to talk and see people. She was cut from an old cloth for sure, and she treasured her family and friends. The apple of her eye was her son Thomas. Oh boy, she loved him! She will truly be missed from Rock Ridge.”

Ramirez thanked so many people who have helped or reached out since Friday.

“Thank you to Gov. (Roy) Cooper, the NCDOT, the N.C. Highway Patrol, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and all the men and women who were first responders,” he said. “Although my mother has passed, your actions and sentiments have filled my heart with joy.”

Ramirez said he’s been touched by the comments about his mother.

“The outpouring of love and attention have truly helped me navigate this tough time,” he said Sunday afternoon.

Ramirez said Joyner’s Funeral Home will handle Bradshaw’s funeral arrangements, which were scheduled to be finalized Monday.