The call Beverly Owens Addison had been waiting for finally came yesterday afternoon.
Mariah Banks, age 24, would be charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run for causing the death of Owens Addison’s only son, 22-year-old Frederick “Woon” Frazier. Together, the charges will allow the DA to seek a maximum penalty of as many as nine or ten years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Banks had killed Woon in a violent hit-and-run at Manchester and Normandie last April 10. The incident was thrust into the national spotlight when a local news outlet’s livestream feed captured a driver deliberately slamming into Quatrell Stallings, one of Woon’s grieving friends, as a protest staged at the site where Woon had died a day earlier wound down.
That driver, 20-year-old Alana Ealy, was first apprehended on May 31, 2018. She was released the next day on $50,000 bail, but was re-booked a few weeks later, on June 21, and has been held without bail ever since. She is charged with attempted murder. Her court date is set for June 19 of this year.
Banks had turned herself in two weeks before Ealy was found, as we first reported last May 15, after a deluge of tips led detectives to the vehicle involved in the crash. Banks’ white Porsche Cayenne was found a good 75 miles away at a private home in Moreno Valley, where it had been given a cheap coat of black paint.
But despite what appeared to be overwhelming evidence against Banks – including a confession, the recovery of the vehicle, clear evidence of the effort to cover up the crime, and surveillance video showing the crash (below) – charges had not been forthcoming.
During a press conference last June, Detective Ryan Moreno had said they were looking at felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter charges, but cautioned that the D.A.’s office was assessing video of Banks’ movements in the moments before the crash to ascertain whether she had been driving recklessly.
Why it took a year to make that assessment remains a mystery.
Calls I made to detectives over the course of the last year were never returned, and Ms. Beverly says she was only told that detectives were still compiling video evidence. The D.A.’s office wasn’t much more forthcoming in that regard, saying only that the case had been kicked back to detectives and that they had asked for the LAPD to do “further investigation.”
The case was finally filed with the D.A.’s office two days ago and a warrant was issued for Banks’ arrest. As of this publication, she has not yet been booked, no D.A. has been assigned to the case, and no court date has been set.
For Ms. Beverly, the news doesn’t offer as much relief as she would have hoped. While it signals a step forward in the process, her son is still gone. And in having to be present throughout what will likely be a lengthy legal proceeding, she knows she will have to revisit all of the pain she was trying to put behind her over the past year. She also has a number of questions about those that were complicit in encouraging Banks to flee the scene and hide the car – will they be held to account, too?
“This is so hard,” she kept repeating as we discussed the case this morning. “This is just so hard.”
We’ll have more on Ms. Beverly’s story later this afternoon, and more coverage next week of the year in hit-and-runs in the community, as well as of the memorial events marking the anniversary of Woon’s passing on April 10 and April 14.