Philbert Martin Williams
20 years old

Two days before the Beautillion at Phil Williams’s church, his date dropped out. The ball was a rite of passage for young men at the church, who vied to be named king. Without a partner, he couldn’t compete.

“In 48 hours, he found a new young lady, had her rehearse, learn the steps, and helped her buy a gown,” said his father, Philbert Sr. “By the end they were so polished and of course, they won.”

Determination was something that marked everything he did, said his mother Lynette. At home, it meant keeping a close eye on his two younger brothers. “He would say, ‘If you ever get in trouble, don’t even bother to call mom and dad, you will have to deal with me,’” she said.

Williams split his time between volunteering at his church and studying criminal justice at John Jay College. He hoped to become a CIA agent.

Every Monday, he took a break from his studies to spend time with his mother. “He would come over and sit on my bed and talk about what was going on,” she said. “He gave me motivation as a mother because he was so good.”

This collision happened on May 19, 2014 near Flatbush Avenue at Avenue U in Brooklyn. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Throughout 2014, WNYC tracked the 265 men, women and children killed in traffic crashes in New York City. In addition to reporting the circumstances of their deaths, we looked at who they were in life: mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, recent immigrants and native New Yorkers. To read some of their stories, click on a photograph.