Woman killed at Virginia red light was a Chi Alpha Campus Ministries leader at VCU: 'She was here to serve'

Posted at 6:57 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 10:42:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Meredith Norris was full of joy, quick to tell a joke, and possessed a uniquely passionate heart for serving others, according to her family.

The 28-year-old woman was an intern at the Chi Alpha Campus Ministry at VCU.

Her aunt and uncle, Donna and Louis Rogerson, said thanks to that internship, the past 10 months were the first time in Norris' life they lived close to her.

"Last August, she was able to move here, and because we live in Chesterfield, we were able to connect with her a little more and that’s been very special," Donna Rogerson said, as tears welled in her eyes. “I loved her because she could go deep very quickly, even though we didn’t talk very often, especially on spiritual natures.”

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Tuesday, they joined Norris' friends in Richmond to clean out her downtown apartment, share stories, and mourn her loss. Sunday night, Norris was driving some of her students home when investigators said her vehicle was hit by a speeding driver. The 28-year-old died from her injuries at the hospital.

“Meredith was a mentor, was becoming a mentor," Donna said.

"Yeah she really was, and that’s the people who were becoming special to her here," Louis Rogerson said. "She was actually out with a couple of friends, had been out to get something to eat earlier in the evening, and was taking one of her friends home when the accident occurred.”

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Meredith Norris

Richmond Police arrested 27-year-old Davonte Ridley in connection to the wreck.

Investigators said Ridley was driving at a high rate of speed in the northbound lanes of Chamberlayne Avenue as he approached the intersection with Laburnum Avenue, where a pickup truck and Norris' were stopped at a red light.

Sources said RPD's crash team found that Ridlely attempted to drive between the two vehicles, striking the pick up, and then careening into Norris' vehicle. The two other students in her vehicle were seriously hurt but are on the course toward recovery, according to Mike Godwza, who leads Chi Alpha Ministry at VCU.

"We’ve received such an outpouring of support from so many individuals," Godwza said.

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Norris was wrapping up the final weeks of her internship before taking on a full-time role with Chi Alpha in Pittsburgh.

"Meredith was here to serve," Godwza. “I know this generation is really struggling with mental health and anxiety issues, and she was always there, the first to put her arm around their shoulder to give a hug to bring comfort.”

"The only hope we have is that we have no doubt she is with her Savior who she loves very, very much," Donna Rogerson said.

"I know she’d want people to please know there are options in this world. That it is a hard world we live in. Obviously, she was just a victim of that. But, I know she would want forgiveness. I know she would want spiritual growth, and above all to keep doing good," Rogerson continued.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Norris' family. Alpha Chi leaders have set up a memorial for Norris Wednesday at 7 p.m. outside their headquarters near VCU's campus at 822 W Franklin St. The event is open to the public.

Richmond Police said the crash remains under investigation.

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