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‘My Whole World Is Turned Upside Down’: Man Mourns Death Of Wife Killed In Alleged Road Rage Shooting While On Anniversary Trip
Julie Eberly had been driving with her husband Ryan to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to celebrate their seventh anniversary when he said a driver opened fire after being accidentally cut off on the highway.
Julie Eberly and her husband were on their way to Hilton Head Island to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary, when the driver of a passing car began firing into their vehicle, striking and killing the 47-year-old mom.
“In three minutes, my whole world is turned upside down, and I don’t know why,” Julie’s husband, Ryan Eberly, told local station WGAL.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Eberly died in a “road rage shooting” Thursday around 11:40 a.m. while she was traveling with her husband down I-95 in North Carolina near mile marker 23.
Ryan had been driving the couple’s vehicle when he said he changed lanes but didn’t see that another vehicle had been coming up behind him.
“I didn’t see that he was going around me,” he told WGAL. “I pushed him to the shoulder mistakenly. As soon as I was able, I gave him room to get back on the highway. No car contact.”
But the driver of what the sheriff’s office has described as a mid-2000 model silver or grey Chevy Malibu or Impala flew into a rage and began firing at the couple.
“I saw in my mirror that he was passing us to the right. Gunshots were fired and our car was hit,” Ryan said. “My wife yelled my name, and I asked if she was hit. She said yes.”
Authorities said Julie was shot through the passenger door and later died at UNC Southeastern Hospital. Ryan was not injured during the altercation.
On Saturday, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to “probable cause for the issuance of warrants and the arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for the murder.” The reward money was offered by a Robeson County resident who has requested anonymity.
Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said he hoped the reward would provide “incentive” for anyone with information to come forward.
Julie and her husband had been traveling from their Pennsylvania home to Hilton Head Island to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary with another couple, who were married around the same time, according to PennLive.
Ryan told local station WMBF that the trip would have been their first without the six kids they shared, each having three from previous relationships.
“This was kind of the first step to the next stage of our lives of being able to go away with friends and vacation with friends,” he said. “This was the first time for us, so we were so looking forward to it.”
He described his wife as a “good person” who loved opening her home to family, friends and neighbors.
“She loved everybody and everybody loved her and felt supported by her, and now we have to figure out how to do life without her, and that’s going to be the hardest part,” he said.
Ryan said his wife’s vibrant personality was what had drawn him to her at a New Year’s Eve party more than seven years ago.
“She comes walking into the house and kind of runs across the kitchen floor and slides in her stocking feet across the kitchen floor, and that’s just who she was,” he said, calling her his “best friend.”
Julie had loved spending weekends by the pool, being with family, snowmobiling and was “passionate” about her prayer ministries, according to her obituary.
Her family is now trying to find the person who took her life.
Authorities have described the suspected shooter as a Black man with dreadlocks last seen traveling down I-95 south bound and getting off at Exit 22.
“The vehicle was seen proceeding over the bridge into the city,” the sheriff’s office said.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told Oxygen.com Wednesday that no arrests have been made in the case and that the “investigation is still underway.”