'Remarkable young woman' killed crossing Brook Road was leaving work at Chipotle, family shares

Posted at 2:31 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 17:52:28-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Diamond Nakita Downs was killed crossing Brook Road in Glen Allen, Virginia, at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Henrico Police.

Downs, 22, was killed after she left work at the Chipotle Mexican Grill near where she was hit by a driver who stayed at the scene of the crash.

"The preliminary investigation shows Ms. Downs attempted to cross the northbound lanes of Brook Road when she was struck by a Hyundai Santa Fe," a Henrico Police spokesperson wrote in an email about the crash. "Dark clothing and poor lighting in the area appear to be contributing factors in this crash."

Downs graduated from Highland Springs High School and attended Virginia State University, according to her family, and was known for her outgoing and lovable personality.

Diamond Nakita Downs 01.png
Diamond Nakita Downs

"Diamond had a deep love for her family and friends. Her passion for singing showcased her beautiful voice, and her intelligence was complemented by her zest for life," aunt Baseema Hassen wrote in a GoFundMe post. "Her family and friends are left grieving the loss of a remarkable young woman who had just celebrated her 22nd birthday on January 30."

There are no crosswalks in the area where Downs was killed.

"There are at least eight lanes of traffic, so that’s a lot of lanes to cross," Jeff South, who lives near the crash site and oftern crosses Brook Road, said. "If you try to make it in one fell swoop, without stopping in the median, which itself is dangerous, you are really taking your life into your own hands."

South said he hoped Henrico County or VDOT considered making changes to improve pedestrian safety as more people move into and visit that part of the county.

"We’ve got development on both sides, the county has recently opened its sports expo on the east side of Brook Road, and there will be lots of families I would think who would attend events there," he said. "They’ll want to maybe go to a restaurant or fit in a grocery run that is on the opposite side of the street, and to do that by foot is really, really dangerous."

A spokesperson with VDOT sent the following statement: "The corridor on Route 1 (Brook Road) between Interstate 295 and Magnolia Ridge Drive has been identified as part of a Virginia Department of Transportation Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. VDOT is collaborating with Henrico County to improve pedestrian safety. An active effort to provide pedestrian safety along the corridor is underway, as funds become available."

Downs is the second pedestrian killed in Henrico County in 2024.

"Diamond will be dearly missed, leaving behind a void in the hearts of those who cherished her infectious spirit," her aunt said.

Diamond Nakita Downs
Diamond Nakita Downs

According to VDOT crash data, there were 67 traffic crashes involving pedestrians in 2023 in Henrico County.

There were 31 reported crashes involving pedestrians who were seriously injured that year and seven that were fatal.

Henrico County recently launched a campaign called "WOAH," which stands for Watch Out Ahead Henrico, emphasizing safe driving, cycling, and walking practices.

A report shared by the Virginia Department of Transportation said there were 171 pedestrian fatalities documented in 2022, the highest number of pedestrians hit and killed in five years.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

Henrico Police

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