Verdict reached in case of 2 children struck, killed

Verdict reached in case of 2 children struck, killed


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 19 at 2:17 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A verdict has been reached in the trial of a delivery truck driver charged with hitting and killing two brothers in west Charlotte in February of last year.

A jury found Dirk Jerome Brown guilty in the deaths of the two brothers. The judge sentenced Brown to serve 120 days in jail-- 80-percent of the maximum possible combined sentence of 150 total days on the two counts against him. Along with the jail sentence, Brown's license will be revoked for one year.

Brown testified Thursday he was in no rush to get to Rock Hill for his first delivery of the day, when he pulled up to the intersection of W. Tyvola Road and Shady Lane after picking up his co-worker on February 22, 2012.

The jury found Brown guilty on both counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle against him for the deaths of 1-year-old Jeremy Brewton and 5-year-old Kadrian Pendergrass.  The boys were brothers.

The family of the boys killed wept as the guilty verdicts were read. Then said the 120-day sentence was not justice for the death of their boys, and that Brown never apologized to the family.

The case moved directly to sentencing following the guilty verdicts. The prosecution asked for an active sentence, while the defense pleaded that Brown has no prior criminal record and is a father to two children.

Brown was taken away from the courtroom in handcuffs to immediately begin serving out his sentence.

(Click here for photos from the scene)

"I was looking in my mirrors both ways, making sure I had the turn when it was available," Brown said at his trial. 

Brown says he pulled up to the intersection of Shady Lane and W. Tyvola Road, stopped at the stop sign for 10 to 15 seconds, kept checking his mirrors, but never saw the boys walking with their sister and father on the shoulder of the road.

Brown says he made a wide turn  and then heard screaming.

"I seen kids laying there," he said. "I didn't know what to do so I made a call."

Investigators say the right rear tire of Brown's truck clipped the shoulder of the road and that's what killed the boys as the family walked to a nearby daycare.

Witness David Ayune testified Brown didn't use all the space he could have.

"It was not a wide turn," Ayune said.

It was while talking to police Brown learned the two boys died.

"I'm still hurt, it was an accident, I'm hurt about the whole situation," he said.

Prosecutors asked Brown if he was distracted or on the phone.

"I was not," he said.

Brown testified his co-worker, who is not on trial, also checked the right side and didn't see anyone there.

Ayune says Brown was laughing just before making the turn.

That turned into family, friends and neighbors crying for the boys and pleading with the city to build a sidewalk.

At the time, city officials said there was no money in the budget for a sidewalk at that location, but it was moved up to a higher spot on the list of areas to get sidewalks in the future.