Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes: A look at the tragic accident that claimed the TLC singer's life 18 years ago
April 25, 2020, marked the 18th death anniversary of Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes. She was one part of the four-time Grammy-winning trio TLC, a band that sold more than 20 million records.
Lisa had moved to Atlanta from Philadelphia in 1991 to pursue music with just a keyboard and $750 to her name. And the same year, TLC was formed. By 1995, very few people in music were as big as the band that also consisted of Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas. Their album 'CrazySexyCool' went diamond and it still remains the best selling album by a girl group in American history. Four singles charted in the Top 10, and "Waterfalls" was the second biggest hit of the year according to Billboard. However, the group was constantly rumored to be going their separate ways amid a series of impediments and occasional public disputes. Lisa pleaded guilty to burning down the home of her boyfriend, Watkins was found to have sickle-cell anemia, and all three claimed to be broke and bankrupt in spite of selling millions of records.
In 1999, while recording the band's third album 'FanMail', she told a magazine, "I've graduated from this era. I cannot stand 100 percent behind this TLC project and the music that is supposed to represent me." After her statement, her other group members mentioned in an interview that Lisa "doesn't respect the whole group" and "Left Eye is only concerned with Left Eye." After the release of the album, Lisa challenged the other two to release individual albums to gauge who enjoys the most popularity and while the other two refused, she went ahead with the plan anyway. However, her album, 'Supernova', was not received well by critics and the label pulled out and decided to not release it elsewhere.
Lisa then began production on an introspective documentary intended to chronicle her "spiritual journey" in Honduras, in April 2002. She traveled with her sister, Raina "Reigndrop" Lopes, and the R&B group, Egypt as part of a plan to film in the forest for 30 days.
She worked on a multitude of projects, a clothing line, a new solo project and a book about her sometimes troubled life. On April 25, Lisa was traveling from the jungle to Jutiapa, near Honduras' northern Atlantic coast, which features thermal baths and other treatments.
Lisa, along with eight other people, including her sister, Reigndrop, were traveling in a Mitsubishi Montero sports utility vehicle when the crash occurred near Jutiapa. They were trying to pass a car on the highway when a truck approached from the other lane, forcing her to veer sharply to the left, striking two trees and then flipping over several times. The accident killed her on the spot while the others accompanying her escaped with non-life-threatening head, arm and leg injuries. The cause of the accident was excessive speeding, said a police officer.
The other two members of her group were devastated after news of Lisa's death broke. "We had all grown up together and were as close as a family. Today we have truly lost our sister," they said in a statement.
A few days after the accident, Rozonda said, "There are days when it's hard to keep it together. And there are days when you're like, I'm not even fighting it today, I just have to let it out, and you just cry."
A lot of people left a tribute to the late singer on her 18th death anniversary, including 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' star Kandi Burruss. She shared a throwback picture of herself with Lisa on her Instagram with the caption, "It’s crazy how much time has passed! #RIP #LisaLefteyeLopes."