VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The mother of a Norfolk woman killed in an alleged DUI crash on I-264 is speaking out to 10 On Your Side.
“She was a wonderful child,” Mia Freeman said. “Her smile could light up the whole room.”
According to police, 22-year-old Teja Freeman was killed in the westbound lane, near Witchduck Road, when a pick-up truck struck the rear end of her car.
Christopher Kita, 28, is charged with involuntary manslaughter – DUI.
Mia told 10 On Your Side that Teja was heading home after a night out with her coworkers. State police report that she had been stopped in the left lane with her hazard lights on. Mia isn’t sure why.
“We don’t know, because she was by herself… She didn’t live to be able to tell us what happened.”
10 On Your Side spoke with another driver who was on the road that night.
“[Kita] was just riding on my rear end, and I was like, ‘What’s up with this dude?”‘ said Chris Garces.
The pick-up truck eventually passed him, and moments later, Garces saw the wreckage. He stopped to help.
“Her car was just like facing the guard rail, and when I checked on her, she was just passed out… seeing the car, it didn’t even look like there was a backseat.”
10 On Your Side did some digging and found out that Kita was charged with his first DWI less than a month before the fatal crash.
It’s a tragedy that resonates with Kaye Walsh, the Lead Southside Coordinator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her daughter was killed by a repeat offender.
“When I found out he had a prior in Chesapeake, and would have to have ignition interlock on his car when he’s convicted, then he still took another chance of driving impaired and he traded that ignition interlock for 10 years behind bars,” Walsh said. “How stupid can anyone be? Stupid and careless.”
Mia hopes her daughter’s death will make others think twice before getting behind the wheel. Yet, she isn’t holding a grudge against Kita.
“It’s only going to make us miserable and she wouldn’t want that… She wouldn’t want that.”
Mia told 10 On Your Side that her daughter’s life was just getting started. She worked hard, having graduated with honors. She was a certified dental assistant and was recently promoted to manager of a shoe shop.
“She achieved to the best of her ability,” her mom said.
10 On Your Side requested an interview with Kita from the Virginia Beach Jail but he declined. We reached out to his attorney and are awaiting a response.