- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Virginia auto dealership yesterday became the most recent community member to help domestic-violence victim Yvette Cade and her mission to help others.

The Don Beyer Volvo dealership’s Falls Church location gave a white 2007 Volvo S40 to Mrs. Cade, a Prince George’s County woman who received national attention after her ex-husband set her on fire last fall.

Speaking briefly during the ceremony, Mrs. Cade thanked her supporters and urged victims of domestic violence to extricate themselves from their abusers as quickly as possible.

“To those who are in an abusive relationship … make it a priority to map out a plan to remove yourself from danger,” she said. “When you’re in that situation, things can get hectic, so plan your escape now.”

Mrs. Cade profusely thanked the dealership for the car, which is adorned with logos for her Web site, www.yvettecadefund.org. Her old car was unreliable, she said, and injuries limit her mobility, making it difficult to use public transportation.

“I’ve been truly blessed to have so many people want me to continue to fight against domestic violence,” she said. “I will not give up as long as I have a friend in Jesus.”

Warren Harper, the business manager at Don Beyer Volvo for 18 years, led efforts to give Mrs. Cade the car, after recently attending the opening of “Infinitas,” a musical about domestic violence.

Magnifique, the Stafford-based theater company, dedicated its opening show to Mrs. Cade, who was a special guest.

Upon learning that Mrs. Cade was using public transportation, Mr. Harper talked to dealership owners Don Beyer Jr. and Mike Beyer, who agreed to give her a vehicle.

“Bad things happen to people, and they have a choice of which way to go,” Mr. Harper said. “Her choice was to turn it into something good and to make a difference for other people. That kind of attitude needs support and encouragement.”

Mrs. Cade, 32, was working in a T-Mobile cellular telephone store in Clinton on Oct. 10 when Roger B. Hargrave confronted her and doused her head with gasoline concealed in a soda bottle, prosecutors said.

When she tried to run away, witnesses told investigators, Hargrave chased her — lighting a match and setting her afire when she fell to the ground outside the store. Surveillance cameras inside the store caught the incident.

Authorities said Mrs. Cade survived only because she managed to run to a workplace sink to put out the flames and received prompt medical treatment.

Mrs. Cade underwent more than a dozen surgeries and spent 92 days in the hospital recovering from burns on more than 65 percent of her body. She faces additional surgery and therapy as a result of the attack.

Hargrave, 34, now is serving a life prison sentence after an April conviction on charges of attempted murder and assault.

Mrs. Cade has since told her story on CNN and the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Dressed yesterday in a brown polka-dotted dress with a tan cardigan tied around her shoulders, Mrs. Cade smiled brightly as she entered the car to applause from friends, family members and law-enforcement officers from around the region.

The event was also attended by number of dignitaries and local elected officials, including Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, and Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.

Mrs. Cade was escorted to her new car by Cpl. William Heggs, the Prince George’s County Police Department detective who investigated the case.

Cpl. Heggs, who said he had never seen such a case of domestic violence, called Mrs. Cade’s recovery “unbelievable.”

“I’m proud of her,” he said. “She’s come a long way from when I initially met her, when they said there was an 80 percent chance she wasn’t going to make it. … She completely turned all the way around.”

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