TRAGEDY ON A ROAD FAR AWAY
Rapper ‘Left Eye’ Lisa Lopes was a beautiful young woman in the middle of a superstar career.
On April 25, 2002, while on a spiritual retreat at a ‘healing village’ in Honduras, she was driving a rented SUV with seven friends on a two-lane country road in the port city of LaCeiba.
A stalled truck suddenly loomed in front of her. She swerved sharply to the right to avoid hitting it and then swung the wheel left to avoid an oncoming car.
The vehicle rolled several times, throwing Lisa and three others out of the windows, and crashing upside down in a ditch at the side of the road.
Lisa died instantly of “a fracture of the base of the cranium.” She was 30 years old.
The seven passengers in the car, including Lisa’s brother and sister, survived with injuries.
A cameraman in the front passenger seat was videotaping at the time and the last seconds leading up to the crash were recorded. [See video below.]
A DYING BOY IN HER ARMS
Just two weeks earlier, Lisa had been a passenger in a van that struck a 10-year-old Honduran boy who was walking on the side of the road.
They stopped and put the boy, Bayron Lopez, into their van. Lisa cradled his bleeding head in her arms as they rushed him to the closest hospital. Lisa and her colleagues watched over the boy, prayed for him and cried for him, but he died the following day.
HOW SHE GOT THAT NAME
Lisa was born in Philadelphia and suffered many ‘whippings’ from her former drill sergeant father. Some years later he would be shot dead in a drunken bar fight.
LIsa started drinking at 15 and battled with alcohol addiction for several years.
She scrambled her way up to the top of a musical career, adopting the rapper nickname Left Eye after rapper Michael Bivins told her he loved the way her left eye was more slanted than the right eye.
She performed with the group TLC (derived from the first initials of its members, Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins, ‘Left Eye’ Lisa, and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas). TLC was reportedly the most successful female group in history, selling more than 21 million copies of their three albums: ‘Ooooooohhh,’ (1992), ‘CrazySexyCool’ (1994), and ‘Fanmail,’ (1999).
ROUGH TIME WITH FOOTBALLER
Lisa had a tempestuous relationship with former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison.
In 1994 they got into one hell of a fight after she said Rison beat her up after a night out. To get even with him, she set fire to his sneakers in the bathtub. The blaze got out of control. The flames spread through the mansion they shared and burned it down.
Lisa was arrested and tried for arson. She got off with a $10,000 fine, five years’ probation and time in a halfway house.
THE LAST DAYS OF LEFT EYE
Thousands of mourners attended Lisa’s funeral at New Birth Baptist Church in the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia on May 2, 2002. She was buried at Hillandale Memorial Gardens in Lithonia.
A documentary showing the final 27 days of Lisa’s life, ‘The Last Days of Left Eye,’ premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in April 2007.