PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The family of Montia Bouie, with roots in the Lambert’s Point section of Norfolk, is still trying to process the tragic events that claimed the 19-year-old’s life last week on Interstate 64 in York County.
Reared by her grandmother in Greensboro, North Carolina, Bouie moved to Chesapeake in September. Seven months later, her mother, Cassandra O’Neil, died in Greensboro of a drug overdose.
As the family continues to grieve the sudden loss of Cassandra O’Neil, they are now dealing with the death of O’Neil’s daughter.
Bouie’s grandmother, Velma O’Neil Chandler, grew up in the Lamberts Point Section of Norfolk, and her father, the late David King Lathan, was the pastor of a small Norfolk church.
Chandler reached out to 10 on Your Side’s Regina Mobley, who used to attend church services with the Latham family.
“The day before this[accident] happened she told me she missed me,” said O’Neil Chandler. “The last conversation we had, when she buried her mother seven weeks ago, it was, ‘I love you.’ It was like she was going to get her life together, the kids, I was going to get custody. … I was in the process, but she passed away,” said O’Neil Chandler, who reared Bouie and will now seek custody of her 8-month-old girl and 2-year old boy.
Bouie was a passenger in a party bus that collided with a tractor-trailer in York County.
A passenger who escaped serious injury contacted Bouie’s family. The account she offered was graphic. O’Neil Chandler’s daughter, Keyona O’Neil, described the harrowing details as shared by the passenger.
“When the young lady FaceTimed me she told me that my sister was lying down on somebody’s lap,” O’Neil said. “All they knew is they got hit from the back and then she went into detail about the accident and how she didn’t make it and how everybody flew all over the place and how they ran to get her out the street so no other car would hit her.”
She told 10 On Your Side she is not prepared to say goodbye to her sister and best friend.
The family needed help burying Bouie’s mother.
Now they need help with Bouie’s funeral expenses.
The family has established a GoFundMe page to help with funeral services and care for Bouie’s children.
“We couldn’t do a proper burial [for Cassandra] because we didn’t have enough money, so we had to cremate her,” O’Neil Chandler said as tears streamed down the mother and daughter’s faces. “I don’t want to cremate my Tia [Montia]. I want to have a proper burial.”