Father of hit-and-run victim: ‘I would have died for her; let me die’

Father of hit-and-run victim talks about losing his daughter

James Arthur Hollinhead sobbed uncontrollably as he talked about his daughter, Kassandra, who was struck by two vehicles and killed while crossing MLK Boulevard.
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James Arthur Hollinhead sobbed uncontrollably as he talked about his daughter, Kassandra, who was struck by two vehicles and killed while crossing MLK Boulevard.

Kassandra “Kassie” Hollinhead purchased a lottery ticket Saturday night while talking to her dad on a cellphone, her bereaved father said Monday afternoon.

Moments later, she left the Citgo gas station on Martin Luther King Boulevard with plans to stop by her father’s house for some money. It was a trip she would never make.

Hollinhead, 35, was struck by two vehicles and killed Saturday night while crossing Martin Luther King Boulevard. Police said one of the vehicles fled the scene, and the incident is still under investigation.

Authorities were called to the scene around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the police report. Hollinhead was pronounced dead 24 minutes later.

On Monday, her father, Arthur James Hollinhead, sobbed uncontrollably in the arms of loved ones. His wife, Elainer Cobbs Hollinhead, and his sister, Millie Hollinhead Evans, tried to console him while wiping tears from their eyes.

“The last thing she told me is ‘Dad, I love you,’” Arthur Hollinhead said in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “That’s it, and then I got a phone call and she was dead.”

He still couldn’t shake the scene that he encountered when he rushed to the location of the incident.

“My baby lying out there in the road all broke up,” he said. “... It’s just messed up, man. It’s messed up.

“... Why couldn’t it have been me,” he said still crying. “I would have died for her; let me die.”

Arthur Hollinhead and other relatives said they want justice for the death of the woman who brought so much joy into their lives.

Her grandmother, Francis Brown, lives in Union Springs, Ala., and recalled all the friends that Hollinhead made while staying with her for a few months.

“She was such a loving person; I bet she knew half the town,” she said. “... I think my sadness mostly is because it’s such a tragic, tragic ending to somebody’s life. She was a fun-loving person, Kassie was.”

Brown said Hollinhead was born in Columbus. She was raised by Brown and her mother, who died from cancer two years ago. Brown said Hollinhead worked as a server at Logan Roadhouse, and loved her job.

Hollinhead was very close to her brother, Kemen Cromartie, who took her to Union Springs for a visit Saturday afternoon, the grandmother said.

“We spent such a great day together,” she recalled. “We talked about some things that happened when she was young. We ate together, and then it was time for them to go.”

Brown said Cromartie drove Hollinhead back to Columbus. He returned to Union Springs, where he received the call about her death.

According to the police report, Hollinhead was crossing MLK, the street she lives on, in a southward direction. She was struck by the left front of a Chevrolet Lumina traveling westbound, and then hit by a Ford Explorer traveling in the opposite direction.

Brown said she feels for the drivers who struck her granddaughter, and she’s praying for them despite her loss.

“Kassie is out of her misery, but these people still have to go through trauma from this,” she said. “... There is no justice in this, unless somebody deliberately did it.

“She’s gone and no matter what they do, they can’t bring her back,” she said. “And, for me, this is just devastating.”

Alva James-Johnson: 706-571-8521, @amjreporter