3 charged after Lincoln woman found in road dies

Credit: Lincoln County Sheriff's Office

(L) Derek Williams; (C) Alesha Werner, (R) Patricia Stroupe,



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Posted on November 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 7:40 PM

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. -- All three suspects charged in connection with the death of 54-year-old Sherry Jo Tobeler are now in custody.

Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies arrested 26-year-old Derek Williams, who was with his girlfriend at a Days Inn Monday evening.

(Click here to view photos from the scene)

The third suspect, who is also the driver's mother, turned herself in before her son's arrest.
Williams is charged with second-degree murder. Williams' mother Patricia Strouphe, 50, and Williams’ girlfriend Alesha Werner, 25, are charged with accessory to murder charges. All three were given court appointed attorneys and scheduled to return to court on the 20th of this month.

That court date could change if the three are indicted by a LIncoln County Grand jury.
(Click here to view photos from the scene)

Tobeler died Monday morning at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte from injuries she sustained when she was thrown, or pushed, from her Chevy Silverado truck last Friday on Highway 150 near Mack Ballard Road in Lincoln County.

"It was an accident," said Williams as he was being escorted by deputies to jail shortly after his arrest Monday night.  When asked what he would like to say to the victim's family, he replied, "I apologize."

According to the sheriff's office, Williams admitted he was behind the wheel of her truck, but he had accidentally run her over when she grabbed for the door handle.

NBC Charlotte asked Williams why he did not call 911, and he said he would not answer any more questions.

A woman who lives up the street from the intersection told NBC Charlotte that she heard loud noises, then car doors slamming.  When the woman came out she noticed a car slowing down.  The person in that car saw a woman (Tobeler) lying in the road, and they both called 911.

"To just leave her there and not call for help...they said she was talking when the ambulance arrived so they could have at least called for help," said Tobeler's brother, Ronald Malcolm.  "She's 100 pounds soaking wet and would give you anything you could ask for."

Investigators were able to retrace part of Tobeler's night after she got into a fight with her husband on Halloween and left their Billy Way Home in Denver.

At some point she met up with two women and a man and was seen at several places, including a gas station to purchase beer and the East End Bar in neighboring Catawba County.

"We were able to speak with a woman of interest right away," said Sheriff David Carpenter.  "She showed us where the truck was this (Monday) morning."

After the woman led authorities to the location of the truck at Gladden Pond, a diver was sent into the water, and the truck was recovered shortly after 3 p.m. on Monday.