Local memorial service is Saturday for teen killed in Virginia police chase

A 19-year-old, who grew up in Gainesville and attended GHS, wanted to be a lawyer

Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 11:38 p.m.

A memorial service will be held Saturday in Gainesville for a young man who grew up here and was killed June 24 in a police chase in Roanoke, Va.

Killed was Marcus Wilson, 19, who was described by family members as a caring, loving young man who had wanted to become a lawyer.

“He was a people person. He loved helping people and making people happy. He loved the Lord,” said Wilson's grandmother, Priscilla Taylor of Gainesville. “He just graduated from high school and had a scholarship to go to (college). He wanted to become an attorney.”

Wilson was renting a room from Edward Lyons, 47, in Roanoke and sometimes used Lyons' 2007 Honda Accord, family members said.

Last week, Lyons called police to report that Wilson had taken his spare key without asking to use the car. The Roanoke Times reported that police spotted the car about three hours later near midnight and tried to stop it, but Wilson sped up.

Police chased Wilson at speeds of up to 71 mph, the Roanoke Times reported, and then deployed spike strips on the road to try to deflate the tires. Wilson swerved to avoid the strips and crashed into the large window of a business. Wilson died from the injuries.

The Times reported that police said the chase appeared to follow city policies on which a police chase was justified.

Wilson's mother, Lorena Wilson, said she believes her son thought it was OK to use Lyons' car since he had been allowed to in the past.

“I am just floored at the situation and how they initially painted my son as a car thief who was running from the police,” she said. “He did run, but all I can think of is a teenage boy had a police car behind him. He was scared, and he just took off. I don't think he was thinking.”

Wilson was born and raised in Gainesville, attending Idylwild Elementary School. The family moved for a time before returning to Gainesville. Wilson then attended Gainesville High School before moving to Roanoke with his parents, Lorena and Marvin Wilson.

Lorena Wilson said he had just graduated high school and had enrolled at Virginia Western Community College to study criminal justice.

Wilson's aunt, Lesetia Taylor, said a service will be held for him Saturday at 3 p.m. at Jesus People Life Changing Church at 800 N.W. 39th Ave.

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