LaKeisha Parks was driving her 1993 Acura sedan on Interstate 85/40 North between the Maple Avenue and Graham exits near Burlington late in the afternoon on Dec. 12, 2004. In a car seat was her one-year-old daughter Lorna Marie Parks. It was dark when her car stalled and finally died. She was able to only partly get the car off the road in front of the State Highway Patrol station.
Using her cell phone she called her mother and waited for her help to arrive. At 6:35 p.m. a 1994 Honda slammed into LaKeisha’s car from behind. She was killed at the scene. The driver of the Honda was only slightly injured while the baby was unharmed. First Sgt. Rodney Cates of the State Highway Patrol said afterward, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the child restraint kept the girl from being killed.”
LaKeisha Parks was an employee with the Iredell County Public Library’s Circulation Department from November 2000 through April 2002. Her father Terry Wayne Turner Sr. was the man beaten to death by ten young teens in downtown Statesville just a few days ago.
Lorna Bailey worked three jobs at once that paid less than $20,000 a year while raising her children. She also volunteered at the library years ago. Her daughter LaKeisha graduated from Statesville High School in 1996. She went on to Campbell University graduating with a degree in graphic design in 2000 and at the time of her death was employed at North Carolina State University.
The brutal and senseless attack on Terry Turner Sr. has left most of the citizens of Iredell County in shock. It doesn’t seem possible that something like that could happen in downtown Statesville. An attack like that is something you imagine only in the big city or a foreign country. It’s what we see on the nightly news. Not what we read about in the local papers.
It is interesting to note that when we checked our records that two of the teens that have been arrested for the attack were previously banned from the library for disruptive behavior. You have a problem if you have to be banned from a public library.
Banning someone from the library only occurs when someone either commits a crime or repeatedly breaks library rules. We rarely have to ban anyone. On an average day we have between 1200 to 1300 people a day entering the building here and almost never have a problem. Even when someone is breaking a rule all you have to do is bring their attention to it and they are happy to comply.
With that many people coming through though it is inevitable that we are also going to have an occasional trouble maker. Fortunately, the library has a security guard on duty at all times patrolling the building and helping to keep everyone safe. Staff members are always present on every floor and on hand should a patron have a complaint or problem. Our first priority is always the safety of our patrons and we strive to make sure they have a pleasant and rewarding visit.
An act of violence is about the worst thing that can happen. We have not had an incident of adults fighting on library grounds in recent memory. It’s usually teenage boys that cause the problem. I had to call the police recently when some boys around ten years old punched another boy they knew from school. Calling the police over boys fighting might seem a little extreme to some, but the parents of the child that had been attacked felt it was justified. It rarely happens here, but when it does our policy is to call the police and let them deal with it.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Two beating suspects had been banned from library” on July 25, 2007