Family remembers hit and run victims one year later

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ((WVLT) -- Chasity Thornell's family and friends gathered along Washington Pike Thursday to hang a ribbon and flowers in her honor.

"The one thing I miss so much about her is her laughter. She was funny - she was just a lot of fun to be around," said her mom, Stephanie Thornell.

Chasity leaves behind a daughter, Ava, who turns three in August.

"Ava's been asking more and more about where her mom is, so that's been really tough," said Thornell.

A spitting image of Chasity as a child, Thornell's mom said she tries to explain what happened in a way Ava can understand.

"We just tell her 'Mommy's with Jesus, Mommy is in heaven. Because she's so little, she just doesn't really understand - she does keep thinking that her mom will come back," said Thornell.

Jurors convicted Harper of killing Chasity, her unborn daughter and Nelson Soto last month.

I'm looking forward to the sentencing date, and hopefully he does have to serve time for this. And you know, out of all of this, I just hope people have really stopped and thought about their actions before they drink and drive - how many lives can be destroyed," Thornell said.

The ribbon and flowers - along with the rest of the roadside memorial - are a visible reminder of that.

Harper will be sentenced next month.


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