'Oh my lord!' Parishioners discover dear friend killed by suspected teenage drunk driver
LOVETTSVILLE, Va. (ABC7) —
Terri and Daniel Cooper were conducting an on-camera interview with ABC7 about a fatal drunk driving crash near their church when they learned the victim was a dear friend.
“No! No, Dave! No it wasn’t? Oh my God we were just Oh my gracious! Oh my lord! My God,” the Coopers said.
Mid-interview, the female victim’s husband drove up, called for Terri and Daniel to come to his front driver’s side window, and revealed the tragic news.
“I’m sorry, we’ve just found out it was a church member, his wife,’ Terri stated as she and Daniel returned to the camera, tears streaming down her face.
The victim, Lauren McDarby, was known for religiously taking leisurely walks along the windy, picturesque, country roads of Lovettsville.
“I mean she walks all the time, all the time. Every day. Every day,” the Coopers shared.
Around sunrise Friday, Loudoun County authorities say Zachary Frye, 19, of Purcellville, was driving eastbound along Morrisonville Road when he swerved, hit McDarby, and then crashed his 2012 Toyota RAV4 into a patch of woods.
A passerby came upon the crash around 7:30 a.m. and called 911. First responders pronounced McDarby dead on the scene; her wounds described as horrific.
Officers arrested Frye and charged him with involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. They obtained a search warrant to draw his blood for a BAC reading. Those results have not been released.
“I can’t make sense of it. I mean it’s bad Nineteen-years-old, 7:30 in the morning, drinking, and hit a person,” Daniel Cooper remarked.
The Cooper and McDarby families both attend Zion Lutheran Church, which just so happens to be located immediately adjacent to the crash site. The small congregation was founded in 1892. It currently has around 45 parishioners.
“Oh she was a wonderful person. She just loved everybody. She would do anything for you,” Terri Cooper added. “She just worked so hard here at church.”
In fact, one of McDarby’s two adult daughters has a wedding service scheduled at Zion Lutheran for Saturday, April 27. Now, the family must postpone those marriage preparations in order to arrange a funeral.
“All because of drunk driving... It’s such a shame.”
The Coopers tell ABC7 that McDarby retired last June from Loudoun County Public Schools where she had worked as an aide. She had eased gracefully into retirement, living in a lovely country home about one mile from the church.
As the sun set Friday, Daniel Cooper rang Zion Lutheran’s bell more than a dozen times.
“She always said how much she loved hearing the bell walking to service on Sunday,” Cooper remarked.
Cooper, who serves as the church council president, also left Zion Lutheran’s lights on throughout the night in memory of its prematurely departed member.
“It’s just senseless. You can’t answer why. Only God knows.”
Zachary Frye obtained minor injuries in the crash. He faces up to 10 years in prison, and is currently being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center pending a bond hearing.