BELMONT, NC – A Belmont woman was hit and killed by a driver that state troopers said was texting while driving -- while also impaired.
Belinda Hudspeth, 45, is charged with second degree murder for the death of Lavon Ramsey on Perfection Avenue around noon on Saturday.
Ramsey, 75, was walking to her next-door neighbor's home when she was killed.
Neighbor Bill Payne said Ramsey was a kind, Christian woman who owned a row of houses where he and his neighbors lived. She was a good friend and landlord, he said.
Payne heard the SUV veer off the road and hit a fence and trashcans.
"When she hit the trash cans it was like, FOOM FOOM FOOM!" he said, describing the noise. He looked out his window.
"It was horrific," he said.
"She was flying," added Patricia Shuler, who was visiting the home where Ramsey was hit. Shuler said it looked "like she was flying down the road, being drugged by the blazer."
Hudspeth was driving a 1999 GMC Jimmy SUV.
Shuler said she dialed 911 as she heard Ramsey calling for help.
"I heard her say, 'Help me, help me,'" said Shuler. Ramsey's husband rushed to her side, but Ramsey died at the hospital.
Shuler said she overheard Hudspeth talking to a state trooper, admitting she was on the phone.
"I heard her say, 'My phone rang and I answered it,'" she said. Shuler said Hudspeth later admitted to another neighbor and police that she was texting, and had also taken pain medication.
Hudspeth is also charged with reckless driving, driving while impaired, texting while driving, and driving without a valid license.
Hudspeth was currently serving a 12-month suspension for an October 2013 DWI conviction, according to state Department of Corrections records. Prison records show she was charged in January 2011 for a Level 4 DWI.
Prison records also show several convictions on her record for possessing and selling Schedule II narcotics in 2009. She was convicted in 2009 and was given probation and a suspended sentence, according to the records.
She is in the Gaston County jail without bond.
Getting angry won't bring Ramsey back, said Payne, but he said it may serve as a lesson to the next driver. He took a picture of the scene for his granddaughter to learn from.
"Used to be, you had to worry about an occasional intoxicated driver," said Payne. "Now you gotta worry about people on pain pills texting, and just being plain stupid."
"A family is grieving over her stupid mistake that she made, not using her head knowing what would happen."