Friend says hit-and-run driver 'panicked'

Charla Davis

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by By NewsChannel 36 Staff E-mail Us:

WCNC.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 5:30 PM

1 killed, 3 injured in hit-and-run

BELMONT, N.C. -- A friend of a woman suspected in a fatal hit-and-run says the driver panicked when she struck a group of people on the side of the road late Thursday night.

Charla Davis turned herself in to Belmont police on Friday morning.

Police say Davis was driving a gray Saturn Vue that struck a group of people along Highway 74 on the Wilkinson Boulevard bridge near the Mecklenburg-Gaston county line.

"There was a carload of people traveling toward Charlotte in an SUV. The driver had a seizure," said Belmont police Chief David James.

James said the SUV stopped on the bridge and the passengers got out to help the driver.

"A gray Saturn traveling from Charlotte, Mecklenburg County into Gaston County, into Belmont struck the pedestrians that were standing there in the roadway," James said.

The driver fled the scene. Police later found the damaged SUV in an apartment complex in Mount Holly.

Four people were taken to a local hospital. One later died.

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"When she found out that one person had died, then she just lost it mentally," said Strudy Todd, a friend of Davis' who went with her to the Belmont Police Department on Friday.

Todd said Davis didn't realize she had struck a person.

"As far as she knew, somebody pulled out and she grazed them," he said. "She just panicked."

Davis was questioned and released on Friday.

James said his officers are still interviewing witnesses. On Monday, they plan to present evidence to the district attorney, at which time Davis could be charged with felony hit-and-run, felony death with a motor vehicle, or vehicular manslaughter.

(NewsChannel 36's Richard DeVayne contributed to this report.)

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