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Friends say victim of hit-and-run just wanted “everyone to be safe”

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MADISON, Ala. -- Madison Police responded to a hit-and-run early Sunday morning in the Edgewater community of Madison. 75-year-old Carol Ann Arey died as a result.

Madison Police arrested the driver, 26-year-old Erica Nail, who was held on a $30,000 bond.  She was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident with injury. She has since bonded out, and was released later that same day.

Unfortunately, this is not Erica Nail's first traffic related offense. Jail records show Nail has two previous DUI's, from 2013 and 2015. After her second arrest Nail was sentenced to the DUI diversion program.

Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill has ruled blunt force trauma as the cause of Arey's death. Friends and neighbors of Arey, who went by Karlee, remember her as an early riser. She walked everyday between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. She would first take her dog Honeybear on a walk, then take her dog back home and go for a two-mile power walk.

Karlee lived with her sister in the Morland Shores neighborhood of Edgewater. We are told her dog Honeybear is safe with her sister.

"We can't understand how something like this could've happened to her, knowing who she was," said Valinda Murphy, a friend of Karlee's.

Murphy said Karlee lived her life the way she worked. A retired State Department employee, she went by the book, a strong believer in rules and regulations.

"It's just two opposite things, responsibility versus irresponsibility, and to have her gone, I can't comprehend it," she said.

Karlee was a much-loved member of the community, active in neighborhood exercise classes and a longtime volunteer Spanish teacher. Her friends said Karlee had a giving spirit.

"She was a very disciplined, responsible person who took care of herself and others," said Murphy.

She said Karlee was always careful. With her background she was trained to be aware, and once put on a safety seminar for women in the neighborhood.

"Karlee wanted us all to be safe. She would constantly say 'this is the way to handle yourself in any situation.' and she was the type of person who could handle herself in any situation," said Murphy.

Karlee's friends describe her as 75 going on 30, with so much life left to live. They said some people just make a great impact, and that was Karlee.

"She just was, the type of person who will be terribly missed," Murphy said.