Minister Killed in Hit-and-Run Accident - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Minister Killed in Hit-and-Run Accident

Elder Harry Williams Jr. made a name for himself in East Nashville where he started his church 19 years ago.

He was founding pastor of New Beginning Church of God in Christ on Cherokee Avenue.

His family and church members said Saturday afternoon that they want to honor him by continuing to work in the community he dedicated his life to.

On Friday, Williams rode his motorcycle near his home when police said he was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

The 46-year-old man had seven children and 14 grandchildren.

He has been described as a strong, disciplined and dedicated man who held his large family together.

"When I was younger, I had the kind of dad that all my friends would say they wished my dad was their dad," said daughter Aireka Williams-Harrell, adding that he was well known for his love and generosity and that his death has devastated many.

Trumeko agreed, adding that Williams "just loved the souls of people."

Metro police fatal crash investigators arrested and charged Christian H. Hastie with vehicular homicide by intoxication for pulling into Williams' path on Stewarts Ferry Pike at Interstate 40.

Police also charged Hastie, 44, of Pierside Drive in Hermitage, with leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Williams, 46, of Fitzpatrick Road in Donelson, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Summit Medical Center.

Church elder Victor Sanford described the pastor as a man after "God's own heart."

"My husband was a really good man," Dessie Williams said, "and I do believe he's in heaven with the Lord right now."

Police said Hastie drove a Toyota Camry southbound on Stewarts Ferry Pike, made a left turn to the entrance ramp of I-40 East and, in doing so, failed to yield to Williams' northbound motorcycle.

The motorcycle slammed into the right side of the Camry at 6:45 p.m.  Hastie fled the scene. Later, he called police from his home, telling them that he was involved in the crash.

"I don't understand how you can do that," said the minister's wife Dessie Williams. "Hit somebody and go home."

Officers went to Hastie's home and saw that his car damage on the right side damage. Police said Hastie admitted to drinking prior to the collision and was taken to General Hospital at Meharry where a blood sample was drawn. Hastie was then taken to the Metro Jail where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

In the wake of his death, those who were closest to Williams want to make sure the man and his mission are not forgotten.

"We could write a book on the charity," Sanford said. "Not just for our church but the city of Nashville."

Loved ones plan to continue his work in the church and the community he adopted as his own.

In addition to his pastorate, Williams also worked for NES. His family said, many times he used his own money to help the community like opening up the church on cold winter nights so that homeless people had a warm place to stay.

As tears streamed down her face Dessie Williams said she forgives Hastie.

"I forgive the man who took my husband away from him," she said, her voice shaking. "I forgive him and pray that God will save his soul."

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