TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Moments before a Talladega police officer ran him over, Brandon McFry was comforting his girlfriend of three years, Nicole Williamson. Now, Williamson is recounting the circumstances that led up to her fiancé’s death, and McFry’s mother, Debbie Jackson, has questions about the tragedy.
“I’m not ready for this.”
Williamson, 26, said she knew when Tyler McKnight asked Brandon McFry to ride with him from Ballplay, in Etowah County, to Talladega on Nov. 8, there would be trouble.
“It was already late at night,” she said. “And I knew if we got out at that time, we weren’t going to be coming back home.”
McFry decided to go anyway, and Williamson went, too.
The three had just made it to Talladega when they passed a police cruiser. McKnight, 24, was instantly nervous, according to Williamson. Williamson wasn’t surprised. She said McKnight was known for running from police.
McFry tried to calm him down.
“Drive right, drive right,” McFry told McKnight. “Don’t start trippin’.”
“I’m not ready for this,” Williamson screamed.
It was too late. Williamson said McKnight floored the vehicle as his passengers objected. The officer turned on her sirens, signaling for McKnight to stop.
The two begged McKnight to pull over. “We’ll all just go to jail together,” Williamson offered.
Soon, Williamson and McFry made the decision to jump from the vehicle.
She said they opened their doors, waiting for McKnight to slow enough for them to jump.
McFry leaped first, and Williamson followed.
“I seen him get hit,” Williamson said, her voice racked with emotion. “I heard it, and I seen it.”
She thought she would be killed, too.
“I felt all the other police cars that were behind us,” she said. “I felt the wind.”
Williamson survived the incident but suffered severe road rash over the left side of her body.
McFry died of his injuries.
“I want to know what happened.”
The last time Debbie Jackson saw her son Brandon alive, it was to celebrate. He had turned 30 on Oct. 10. The day before her son died, Jackson and McFry ate pizza together, which he’d requested instead of cake.
Hours later, Jackson stood at her door in shock as state troopers told her Brandon McFry had been killed in a car accident. She was not told an officer had struck and killed her only son.
Jackson said she should have been told about the police’s involvement.
“I feel like they’re trying to cover up something, or they would’ve told me what happened to to Brandon,” she said.
An initial press release about McFry’s death from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) also did not reveal that the 2017 Dodge Charger involved in the incident belonged to police.
Multiple sources have now confirmed, however, that a law enforcement vehicle struck and killed McFry. Officials have not released the name of the officer driving the vehicle, but Talladega County Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore said a Talladega city policewoman was driving the car. He said officers were attempting to stop the vehicle over an illegally switched tag.
Jackson also said that for three days, she was not informed of the location of McFry’s remains.
“I had no clue whatsoever where my son was,” she said.
McFry’s mother still has not heard from police concerning details about her son’s death.
“Still — right now — they won’t tell me what happened to my son, how he died in a car accident,” she said. “They won’t answer any questions I have. Why are y’all hiding this from me? I want to know what happened to my son.”
Jackson said she wants both McKnight and the Talladega police officer held accountable for her son’s death.
McKnight has been charged with attempting to elude police resulting in a death, a Class C felony that could lead to a ten-year prison sentence.
So far, officials have not announced charges or disciplinary action against the officer who struck McFry.
For her part, Williamson said she’s not sure the officer who ran McFry over could have avoided the tragedy.
“She was going so fast,” Williamson said. “He was killed on impact.”
She did say, though, that her and McFry’s open doors should have been a signal to law enforcement that they were preparing to jump.
“Everybody’s always loved Brandon.”
Since the tragedy last week, Williamson and Jackson have reflected on the person Brandon was to them.
Jackson said it was easy to be around Brandon.
“Everybody’s always loved Brandon,” she said.
McFry grew up in Centre, Alabama, with three younger sisters.
“They were all so close,” his mom said, her voice cracking.
Williamson’s voice lit up when she was asked how she met McFry.
“He tried to get me from one of my exes,” she said, laughing. “I thought he was very crazy. He was always funny. He had one of the best personalities I’ve ever seen in anybody.”
She said McFry loved rap music and watching documentaries.
“From the time he woke up to the time we went to bed, he drove me crazy with the rap music,” she said. “And the documentaries — it would be the craziest stuff in the world. I’d be like ‘what made you think of this?’”
Now, though, Williamson and Jackson will both have to learn how to live without McFry in their lives and cope with the tragedy that ended his.
“I felt like it was going to bother me if I slept at night,” Williamson said. “But it’s more when I’m awake, during the day. I see it — visually — I see Brandon getting hit.”