D.C. Crash Victims Came From All Walks of Life

The victims of the Metro train collision in Washington included the recently retired commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and his wife; two working moms; a retired teacher who was working as a substitute, and a woman who worked with nurses around the world.

Here is what family members, co-workers and others had to say about them:


Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., 62, was the retired commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. His wife Ann, 62, was also killed in the collision. They lived in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote in an e-mail that she developed a close relationship with Wherley, especially during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as D.C. National Guard members were transformed from weekend warriors to Army troops in battle.

Wherley worked on deployment and return ceremonies for troops, funding for Guard members' tuition and afterschool activities conducted by the Guard.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said of Wherley: "He was as fine a public servant, as dedicated to the United States of America ... as anyone I have ever met."


Jeanice McMillan, who was at the controls of a transit train that plowed into another, would have done anything to prevent the accident, friends and relatives said.

She was a devoted mom to her college-age son and while she had struggled financially, she loved her job ferrying commuters and tourists around the nation's capital, those who knew her said.

"If she could have stopped the train, she would have done everything in her power," said Joanne Harrison, a neighbor at McMillan's apartment building in Springfield, Va.

McMillan, 42, a Buffalo, N.Y., native, moved to the Washington area about a dozen years ago, her family said. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service for several years before joining the Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority in 2007 as a bus driver. Officials say she became a train operator in March.


Fifty-nine-year-old Mary Doolittle of Washington, who went by Mandy, was an upbeat person with an irrepressible joy and a great sense of humor. She was drawn to health care to support nursing around the world, according to her supervisor, Jeanne Floyd of the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

After working in Italy for several years and graduating from Rice University, the senior international specialist had been at the credentialing center for the last eight years working on the association's outreach to the international community.

"She talked constantly about the colleagues who would write to her on a daily basis from around the world asking for her assistance. She thought it was her duty and honor to help this population, many of whom are underserved in their country," Floyd said.


Dennis Hawkins' sister, Helen Paulette Hall, said that "when you saw Dennis, you saw a smiling face."

She said the 64-year-old retired teacher and D.C. resident worked as a substitute at Whittier Elementary School in Washington. Although he did not have children, the sons and daughters of his seven siblings were close to him.

Hawkins, a graduate of Western Michigan University, taught all his adult life, Hall said.

"He was a very religious man, family oriented," she said. Hawkins was at Hall's house for a Father's Day dinner with their father.


A cousin of 23-year-old Lavonda "Nikki" King of Washington said King was riding the train from work to pick up her two young sons.

Brittne Rowe said King had just started a job after becoming engaged. Rowe says her cousin was a great mom.

King last called another family member while boarding the Metro train in Takoma Park.


A friend of a Metro crash victim said Ana Fernandez, 40, of Hyattsville, Md., worked evenings as a housekeeper to raise her six children.

Jessica Guillen said Fernandez, a frequent Metro rider, was on her way to work.

Fernandez's children are 21, 18, 14, 12, 11 and 1 1/2 years old, and Guillen said Fernandez was like a second mother to her.


The stepmother of Veronica Dubose says the Washingtonian worked and went to school in the evenings to support two young children.

YaVonne Dubose said her 29-year-old stepdaughter was heading to her first day of school for certification classes, which might have allowed her to work 9-5 hours as a certified nursing assistant.

An 8-year-old son, Raja, and an 18-month-old daughter, Ava, were her top priority, her stepmother said.

"She was a trouper," Dubose said. "If she was on the side of the road with a flat tire, she would change it herself before she would ask for help."

Dubose said her stepdaughter planned to move her family to North Carolina after she obtained the certification.


Cameron Williams' aunt chatted with him shortly before he left for his job as a laborer. He took the Metro.

Shirley Williams told The Washington Post that her 37-year-old nephew was the oldest of five brothers who grew up in the city and graduated from Coolidge High School in Washington. He lived with his grandmother in Takoma Park.

Shirley Williams said her nephew worked from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at a downtown office. "He was a good, good guy," she said. "He didn't cuss, drink, smoke or anything. Just a good man."