Nearly 45 relatives of SandraTate gathered outside the Rock Island County Justice Center on Friday as the man accused of killing her had his first court appearance on first-degree murder charges.
Ms. Tate 43, died early Thursday morning at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, where she was taken after being struck by a car Wednesday night. Results from a preliminary autopsy were not available Friday evening.
Jeremy Charles Graves, 25, whose last known address was 1025 Scott St., Apt. E1, Davenport, made his initial appearance on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery of a police officer and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
A prelimiary hearing was set for Oct. 2, and Mr. Graves was returned to the Rock Island County Jail, where he was being held late Friday on $750,000 bond.
The charges stem from an incident Wednesday in the 900 block of 15th Street in Rock Island, where police were sent around 11 p.m. after receiving several 911 calls about a domestic disturbance, according to Rock Island Deputy Police Chief Jeff VenHuizen.
He said an altercation had occurred between Mr. Graves and people at a home in the area after Mr. Graves had come to pick up his child.
Officers arriving at the scene allegedly witnessed Mr. Graves drive a 2005 Buick in a circle in the middle of 15th Street, the deputy chief said. Mr. Graves proceeded to allegedly drive onto the sidewalk and back down onto the street, where he then drove into a group of people, allegedly running over Ms. Tate.
Afterwards, Mr. Graves attempted to elude officers by driving back onto the sidewalk and turning the vehicle onto 9th Street, where he hit a parked trailer. He then left the vehicle and fled on foot, according to Deputy Chief VenHuizen.
When police caught up with Mr. Graves, he allegedly hit one of the officers in the face before he was apprehended, police said.
Outside the courthouse on Friday, Ms. Tate's relatives expressed their grief and disbelief at what many called a "senseless" act.
Gwenette Robinson said that on Wednesday night, Ms. Tate, upon seeing Mr. Graves drive his vehicle into the middle of 15th Street, moved several children out of the way of his oncoming vehicle.
"In order for them not to die, she pushed them all to the curb and she took the hit," Ms. Robinson claimed.
Ms. Tate's aunt, Mary Toney, of Rock Island, said she had raised Ms. Tate from childhood and was shocked when she heard the news.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "Sandra was always smiling and helping people out until she died - that's just the way she was," Ms. Toney said, her voice catching.
Disbelief quickly spread throughout the family as more individuals learned of the incident.
Ms. Tate's daughter, Brittany Johnson, 23, of Chicago, said she was woken by a phone call Wednesday night with the news that her mother had been run over. She had driven through the night and arrived in the Quad-Cities around 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
"Justice will be served," Ms. Johnson said.
Family members had come with her to the courthouse Friday afternoon, she said, for support and to ensure the story of her mother's death would be heard. They were not, however, permitted into the courtroom, they said.
Additionally, several individuals outside the courthouse were instructed by deputies to leave the area after exchanging harsh words with one another.
Today is Saturday, May 18, the 138th day of 2013. There are 227 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A large variety of children's wagons and gigs have arrived in thecity and are being sold at war prices. 1888 -- 125 years ago: All Rock Island retail houses, with the exception of a clothingstore and a jewelry store, have agreed to early closing hours during the summer months.The store will be closed at 8 p.m. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Baseball enthusiasts in Rock Island are attempting to raise$20,000 to keep the Island City Park open, despite the fact that the city has no franchise inorganized baseball this year. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The organization of a third rural young people's unit will beundertaken tomorrow night at the Milan Presbyterian Church, with Mrs. Mildred K.Wellman, home advisor, and Robert Smith, county farm adviser in charge. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Deere & Co. will begin a "big switch" on its telephone systemMonday morning. The extension numbers of all 1,600 telephones on the firm's EastMoline and Moline exchanges will be changed Monday morning. 1988 -- 25 years ago: East Moline's June Jamboree VI -- Nostalgia Days, will seemlike a '60s revival with the appearance of stars like Bobby Vee, Freddie Cannon, PeterNoone, Turtles, The Grass Roots and Lou Christie. This year's festival has beenexpanded to five days, June 22-26, at the Northeast Park complex.