NARROWS, Va. – It’s been nearly a year since 28-year-old Michael Acord died near a Narrows intersection on July 24, 2020.
“He’s with us every day even though he’s not here,” said Acord’s friend, Tambra Blankenship.
Now, the Narrows police officer involved in that crash, Chad Stilley, is facing charges: involuntary manslaughter, failure to yield right of way and reckless driving.
Acord’s friends, Amanda Keffer and Tambra Blankenship, said what happened is a tragedy all around.
“Whether or not [Stilley] is charged, it’s not a win situation for anyone,” said Keffer. “The police officer is going to have to live with this and Michael is never coming back.”
The crash happened around 10 p.m. near the intersection of US-460 and 3rd Street in Narrows.
At the time, state police said Acord swerved to get around traffic, lost control, and his motorcycle slid into a Narrows police car that was stopped in the road. Police said Acord was thrown from the bike and died at the scene. Authorities say the emergency equipment on the police cruiser was activated when it was hit.
Acord’s friends say rumors of what happened that night are spreading like wildfire, but the justice system will shed light on what happened. They added that they don’t want the crash to be what people remember of Acord.
They say he was an officer in the military, a volunteer firefighter, a fun-loving friend and a godfather.
“He was an amazing man and he was a hero and he would give his heart and soul to just help anyone,” said Keffer. “His heart was huge and that’s what we want remembered.”
In an exclusive interview with 10 News, Stilley and his attorney, Chris Tuck, maintained Stilley’s innocence.
“My client, Officer Stilley, maintains his innocence in regards to the allegations that have been made against him. Today is not the day to litigate those matters. The time and place is in the courtroom,” said Tuck.
They also asked for prayers for all involved.
“[The Acords] have lost a son and a family member, someone that they loved and held dear,” said Tuck. “I would ask that you keep them in your prayers as well.”
“Just remember there are families that are involved in all of this,” said Blankenship. “And this accident was a tragedy and that’s the only thing you can really say about it is: it was a tragedy.”