CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested the driver of an SUV involved in a fatal accident Sunday morning and charged her with misdemeanor death by vehicle after the driver in the car she hit died.
A police statement said Lasonya Denise Thompson, 38, crossed the center line on Mallard Creek Road near Sawgrass Ridge Place around 11:30 a.m. and struck a Saturn ION head-on. Police did not say what they believe caused Thompson to drive into the oncoming lane.
“I've never seen nothing like it,” said Savonia Gray, who was also driving on Mallard Creek Road and witnessed the crash. “The SUV went up in the air, flipped over twice, and landed on its hood.”
The Saturn also flipped. It took firefighters 27 minutes to cut the driver, 39-year-old Zaida Esther Concepcion, and passengers out of the car, according to the Charlotte Fire Department.
Concepcion was taken to Carolinas Medical Center-University where she was pronounced dead. Two passengers in her car were airlifted to CMC-Main with life-threatening injuries.
Gray said she ran to help children in the wrecked SUV, identified by police as a 2006 Nissan Armada driven by Thompson.
“There were four children in the SUV,” said Gray. “The children climbed out of the SUV into my arms and everything, and I stayed with them on the side until they got them on the ambulance and got them situated.”
“The children were brave,” said Gray. “They weren't scared at all, and the mom was just worried about them.”
The children received only minor injuries, according to police.
Police arrested Thompson and charged her with misdemeanor death by vehicle and driving with no liability insurance. Late Sunday night she was listed as being in the Mecklenburg County Jail under $10,500 bond.
Police do not believe alcohol was a factor.
Gray is just grateful she was around to help.
“It was amazing that all the children were okay that were in the SUV,” she said. “I think it was God sent for us to just be in that place at the same time.”