By Anjali Patel
BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A western North Carolina family is mourning and searching for answers after a fatal hit-and-run in Buncombe County over the weekend.
At approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 31, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) was dispatched to a hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian on US-25 (Hendersonville Road) at Watson Road .
The pedestrian, identified as Melody Haynes Harrison, 50, of Arden, was walking north on the north lane of US-25 when she was struck by an unknown vehicle.
Harrison was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
“What she liked most in life was being a ‘grammy’ and her husband, they were two peas in a pod. Inseparable. She loved her family,” said Sara Scott, Harrison’s daughter.
Scott said that his mother loved others and was loved.
“She was someone I admired tremendously,” he said.
Scott said his mother struggled with her mental health from time to time. Scott said he reported his mother missing to the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday night around 5 p.m.
“She was having some very strange mental health issues, she was completely insane,” Scott said.
She said the tragedies in the family had been especially hard on Harrison, who always cared for others.
“She was a caregiver,” Scott said. “She had a lot on her over the years. We lost several family members, including her two parents, one of whom she had found herself. So I feel like it was a lot of stress and stuff that involved losing those family members and everything had just come to a head.”
Nothing could have prepared Scott for the news he received from authorities early Sunday morning: that his mother had been hit by a car while walking on Hendersonville Road.
“When they were at the door, my first thought was that they had found her and taken her to the hospital,” she said. “But that’s not what it was and I really can’t explain what that feeling was like.”
Now she and NCSHP are looking for answers. Scott wants whoever hit her to come forward.
“It hurts to know that she was left like an animal on the side of the road,” Scott said. “I would only hope that they would put themselves in that position if that was their familiar.”
Scott said he mostly just wants an apology for leaving his mom. He hopes, above all, that his mother did not suffer.
“In truth, no punishment will bring her back,” he said. “Yes, we expect them to be punished. I don’t want to say no, because they just left her, they deserve punishment.”
She is urging people in the community not to judge why her mother was out at that time of night and to have compassion. She says that mental health should be taken very seriously.
“I hope it helps people realize that when someone is struggling, they shouldn’t just let it go,” Scott said. “Instead of calling them crazy or calling them this or that, get them help, talk to them, really listen to them.”
While she says some have been cruel on social media following her mother’s passing, many have also been kind. Some people are commenting and sharing their thoughts about the kind of woman her mother was.
“Everyone who knew her loved her,” Scott said.
A GoFundMe page set up by friends had already raised $1,615 as of Tuesday afternoon to help the family with cremation and other costs.
“To be honest, it’s been amazing to see the people who have wanted to help,” Scott said. “It just lets you know that there are still good people out there.”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is asking anyone with information to help identify the vehicle or driver to call 1-800-445-1772.
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