MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Those heartbroken when 21-year-old Brandy Banks-Sutta was killed by a speeding driver earlier this month returned to the crash site Tuesday. On the corner of Morgan Avenue North and Olson Memorial Highway they stood at the curb to say: Thanks for giving.
“Life is heartbreaking, but we have to deal with it, we got to keep moving,” said Tora White, Banks-Sutta’s friend. “We’ve got to live for her.”
Banks-Sutta and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Melvin Jones, were rear-ended as they waited at a stoplight. Witnesses say the driver who struck them was driving erratically and going too fast when he slammed into the couple in the early morning of Nov. 3.
But without the funds to pay for her funeral, relatives of Banks-Sutta and her friends swallowed their pride and held out their hands. At the side of the road near where the couple died, they spent five days pleading for donations.
They had gathered over $1,700 towards the estimated $5,000 cost of cremation and burial.
“I just felt it was something I had to do, so I came out here and panhandled,” said Banks-Sutta’s aunt, Margaret Morgan.
She was there as the money trickled in through both coins and dollars. But after a story on their plight aired on WCCO-TV on Nov. 14, a complete stranger was moved by the family’s dilemma and stepped forward. The anonymous donor pledged to cover the remainder of all funeral costs.
“Whoever you are, I appreciate you,” Morgan said. “I love you, and you are in my prayers. And may God continue to watch you, and thank you for helping my niece, Brandy.”
In a display of gratitude, Banks-Sutta’s friends turned out en-masse on Tuesday to show their thanks to the many passing motorists.
They wanted to thank all those responsible for giving the money they needed to give their loved one a proper goodbye.
“I would to it all over again for my Brandy,” Morgan said.
Services for Banks-Sutta will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Washburn-McReavy funeral chapel at 2301 DuPont Avenue South in Minneapolis. Visitation is set from noon to 2 p.m. with the memorial service immediately following.