NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – A young woman's life was tragically cut short by a suspected drunk driver Sunday morning in Norfolk and her mother tells 13News Now she's angry because the crash was preventable.

Police said Thomas Walters of Virginia Beach was driving an SUV that rear-ended a minivan with three passengers. The minivan was behind a car at a red light at East Princess Anne Road and Sewells Point Road. The impact pushed it into the car.

Officers charged Walters with with driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a blood sample.

Three people in the minivan were hurt and had to go to the hospital, including 23-year-old Nancy Kelly of Maryland.

Kelly was sitting in the front-seat of the minivan. She died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital shortly before 7:30 a.m.

Kelly's mother, Nina, tells 13News Now that her daughter, an Eastern Virginia Medical School student and graduate of Virginia Wesleyan College, had a bright smile and an even brighter future.

"She's beautiful, kind, loving, brilliant," said Nina Kelly. "She lived life everyday, never had bad words to say about anybody."

Kelly was preparing to finish her first year of medical school at EVMS. She recently told her family she wanted to be an organ donor.

"She had her whole life to live. A good life and a good citizen and a good person," Nina Kelly said. "A senseless stupid decision this man made."

The driver and rear-seat passenger in the minivan were treated and released.

Walters, who was treated for minor injuries, is in the Norfolk City Jail.

Police said the department’s Traffic Unit is handling the investigation. Once it is completed, officers will turn their findings over to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for review.

Other charges against Walters could be filed.

Virginia Wesleyan College's Vice President for Student Affairs sent the following email Sunday:

Dear campus community:

It is with great sadness that I share that Ms. Nancy Kelly, VWC class of 2015, was involved in an automobile accident last night and passed away early this morning.

Nancy was a Biology major and a member of the Honors and Scholars program finishing her first year as a medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Nancy was member of the women's basketball team and the Residence Life and Batten Center staffs. She was also very active in community service.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nancy's family, friends, and teammates, and to all others whose lives she touched.

Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.


Keith E. Moore, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Virginia Wesleyan College