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Woman killed by drunk driver remembered as kindhearted; driver charged

Posted at 4:15 PM, Dec 17, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The driver police say hit and killed a woman before crashing into a home in Grand Rapids on Monday evening was charged Tuesday afternoon.

Javan Beard, 37, was charged with drunk driving causing death, as well as driving without a license. So he shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place.

The victim's loved ones, who started a GoFundMe for burial expenses, described Lashanda Howard as kindhearted and undeserving of what happened to her.

"Lashanda was caring. She was loving. She helped any and everybody," Marjorie Banks told FOX 17.

Life changed instantly as the two walked and talked on Kalamazoo Avenue near Temple Street outside of Howard's apartment.
As Banks spoke with FOX 17, she said she was standing in the very spot she heard a crash.

With little time to react, she says she tried pulling Howard out of the path of a vehicle that left the roadway. But it was too late.

"He murdered her... my friend of 27 years. I've known this family 27 years," Banks said.

She says her longtime friend would open up her home, feed anyone and allow you to get some rest.

"She was just a beautiful person. Everybody loved Lashanda," Banks described.

She said, "I want justice because he was selfish. He didn't care about his self. He didn't care about other people."

Beard took out a utility pole, hit an apartment building and slammed into the side of a house before coming to a stop. But it's the untimely death of 47-year-old Howard leaving an emptiness in her loved one's hearts.

"Her grandchildren won't know her personally," Banks said. "They'll only know what we tell 'em."

"He put a lot of people lives in jeopardy, driving recklessly, under the influence, and I'm very upset, and I just hope that he gets what he deserves," Banks said.

Nobody inside the home that was hit was hurt. Meanwhile, Beard is being held on $25,000 dollar bond. He's due back in court at the end of the month and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.