WASHINGTON C.H. — Fourteen-year-old Alexis Faith Pollock had her life taken away much too early, her mother and aunt said Thursday during an interview with the Record-Herald.
On Saturday, Alexis and her mother, Sarah Cooper, were able to see one another as Sarah got ready for work. Alexis had spent the day with Emma Curnutte (her aunt and second-mother figure) and her uncle (John Curnutte) in Chillicothe.
According to Emma, Alexis was dropped off at home at approximately 8:15 p.m. and was instructed to stay home as she wasn’t allowed out after dark and her mother was working until 11 p.m.
Sarah is a single mom with two adult children. Alexis was her youngest and only child left living at home. Although Alexis was still young, she was reaching those teenage years when she wanted to be more independent and was working toward becoming a young lady.
“This year in particular, she was going more from being her little kid person to being more of her own person,” said Sarah.
According to Sarah, Alexis cared deeply about her friends and liked to check up on them often. The recent social distancing during the pandemic and not being able to see friends at school had been difficult on Alexis.
“If they needed her she didn’t care, she’d be there,” said Sarah. “Stuff you needed a friend there for, she was more than willing to be there and be your friend. That part I was so proud of her for, because she took after me I bet.”
Rather than stay at home on Peabody Avenue on Saturday, Alexis decided to ride her bicycle to a friend’s house near Rose Avenue for a short visit.
Emma explained that family members living across the street from her friend’s house told them they had seen Alexis arrive at her friend’s house, stay only a few minutes, then turn around to go home.
At approximately 8:39 p.m. Saturday near the Delaware Street/Rose Avenue intersection just three houses shy of making it home safely, a truck ran into Alexis and, according to Emma, sent her over 70 feet away from the impact location.
The driver, Charles R. Scerba, allegedly fled the area on foot following the accident, according to the Washington C.H. Police Department. Scerba, 53, was located and arrested at Save-A-Lot, 1151 Columbus Ave., without incident, according to police.
He was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the incident and since then has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and is being held in the Fayette County Jail on a $150,00 bond.
Although Scerba allegedly fled the scene, according to Emma and Sarah, a neighbor by the name of Krista Crowe had stayed with Alexis until the paramedics arrived. Meanwhile, another neighbor went to Emma’s (nearby) house to tell her what had happened. Emma immediately went to the hospital while instructing John to get Sarah.
Upon arrival at Fayette County Memorial Hospital, Emma was allowed to go back to where Alexis was being treated. She said they performed CPR for a long time. The injuries were extensive, but hospital staff did their best to save her with Life-flight on standby. Emma explained she was very proud of the work they did.
Sarah, who was still working her shift at Walmart, was called into the office and was informed of the news.
“I thought I was in trouble, because they were calling me to the office, and I didn’t know what I did. That’s when they told me,” said Sarah. “I was told to come now, that’s all I got.”
Before John could arrive at Walmart, a local Washington Court House City Schools bus driver, Katrina Self, had been at Walmart at the time Sarah found out and not only took her to Fayette County Memorial Hospital but stayed with them at the hospital.
Self had been one of Alexis’s bus drivers when she was younger and had went to school with Sarah.
The last happy memory Emma was able to make with Alexis was when they were at Big Lots in Chillicothe that day. She explained they had found a doll that looked like a witch John kept at home as a decoration. Alexis had always been afraid of this witch, so John decided to chase her around the store with it, which had her laughing.
As for Sarah, one of the relatively recent cherished memories she has was of Alexis’s 14th birthday on July 9.
They first had a party locally, then Sarah, Alexis, and Alexis’s brother (Larry “Matt” Cooper) and sister (Heather Alltop) went to the Deer Creek Lodge. Sarah laughed as she recalled the ice cream cake they tried to take with them that had melted on the way.
The lodge was one of Alexis’s favorite places to go, as she loved swimming and enjoyed their pool.
“I was so glad that she got to go,” said Sarah. “And she wanted her hair cut short for her birthday, that’s why it’s short.”
Not only were swimming and watching television two of her favorite activities, but so were crafting, drawing, painting, hiking, riding her bicycle, taking care of animals, and playing with the neighborhood kids.
Her most recent finished craft project was turning a wood box her grandparents gave her into a cosmetic case, decorated with seashells.
She also had unfinished wreaths she was making in a craft room at her grandparents’ house — a craft room she often visited with Emma and her grandparents.
As for the animals, there are five dogs at their home, at least three of which Alexis rescued in one way or another.
Most recently there was a kitten that she took in after it was dropped off to their house when its mother died.
“She took the kitten everywhere,” said Emma. “She even wanted to bring Dezzie (one of her dogs) and the kitten to Chillicothe with us.”
Alexis had said she wanted to be a veterinarian later on, which Emma chuckled at since Alexis had such a dislike for school.
According to Sarah, although she would rather not have all the animals, she will most likely be keeping them as they were a part of Alexis, and Alexis is a part of them.
The young girl finding her way toward being a young woman was pronounced dead at 9:23 p.m. at Fayette County Memorial Hospital.
At the upcoming viewing, Sarah and Emma are hoping people don’t get offended as they chose to dress Alexis in her favorite clothes, and she had been wearing goth-type attire.
“We dressed her the way she would want to be,” said Sarah.
Thanks to various efforts of the community, Alexis’s funeral has been completely covered financially and all leftover funds are being used toward a “very nice” headstone for her.
These efforts have included private donations, donations through a “Go Fund Me” account, a picnic benefit, and a bake sale. One of Alexis’s uncles, Daniel Curnutte, purchased her plot in Milledgeville-Plymouth Cemetery.
“I really want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of their help and their support. I’m so proud of my community that I just can’t even express to everybody how proud I am,” said Sarah. “I would have struggled, I would have done everything I could to get it paid for myself. I want to thank the funeral home — they have been amazing, they really have.”
Grace Community Church will be handling the services and, according to Emma, church officials explained it was their honor to handle the services and provide a meal to close family and friends following the service.
“I didn’t even know she’d get to go there,” said Sarah. “I think it’s super cool that she actually gets to go to a church.”
The public viewing will be on Friday from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. at Grace Community Church, 525 Glenn Ave.
“The hardest part is I didn’t get to say goodbye. I should have been there for her,” said Sarah. “I feel like I’m in this horrible nightmare, and I just want to wake up and go grab my girl.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.