Americus man remembered by candle light vigil

Americus man remembered by candle light vigil
Eli French (Family photo)
Eli French (Family photo)

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - An Americus family grieves the loss of a man killed at this intersection last Thursday. 62-year-old Eli French was hit as he left work at a gas station on US 19.

Eli was one of the many pedestrians who walks along that major highway. Now, they not only want to remember him, but also begin making that intersection safer.

Family members of Eli French make their first trip back to this spot on US 19. French was hit by 23-year-old Eduardo Cortes just after 8:30 last Thursday. Tonight at 7:30, the family is remembering French right here where he worked; a final goodbye to a man they loved.

"He's a brother and we're going to love and miss our brother," said sister Dorine French Reagon.

French stocked shelves and cleaned at the Chevron gas station. Surveillance cameras captured the crash. "By leaving work that night, we don't know all the dynamics to what happened, but we know that his life was ended," said his niece Deatrice Harris. "The vigil is just to remember him and to show him that we love him and that we will continue to think about him."

The Georgia State Patrol says no charges will be filed against Cortes. Harris says this part of US 19 is full of pedestrians walking to the store and back home.

"And we just want it to be safe for everyone that walks here. All the pedestrians, all the people that's coming up and down the highway. We just want to make it a safe intersection for everyone," said Harris.

And she says she'll go as far as she needs to go to reach the right people.

"If that means going to the department of labor, our county commissioner, our state commissioner, even to the city to ensure that this doesn't happen to another family," said Harris.

French worked at the gas station for more than eight years. His funeral will be this weekend.

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