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Twice-convicted drunk driver charged with murder

A Clover woman with two convictions for drinking and driving and one case pending, got into a deadly Saturday morning crash in south Charlotte.  

CLOVER, S.C. -- A Clover woman with two convictions for drinking and driving and one case pending, got into a deadly last Saturday morning crash in south Charlotte, and upon her release from the hospital, she was charged with second-degree murder.

Kelly Ann Conkin, 23, was initially charged with felony death by a motor vehicle and DWI. Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged her with second-degree murder, felony serious injury by motor vehicle, reckless driving and possession of marijuana.

Police say her Hyundai crossed the median on South Tryon near Moss and slammed into a Toyota Camry, killing Cecilia De Gonzalez, 79, and seriously injuring her daughter and son-in-law.

One of De Gonzalez’s daughters tells NBC Charlotte, “My mom passed because of her. She shouldn’t be on the street. She should be held responsible.”

De Gonzalez lived in Colombia and was dedicated to her faith and community by helping abused girls and the homeless. Four of her eight children live in Charlotte and she was in town visiting.

Her infectious smile was captured in a picture on the beach in Hilton Head less than 24 hours before she died.

North Carolina has pretty strict laws regarding DWI multiple offenders.

“Three DWIs in 10 years is a permanent revocation of your driver’s license,” said criminal defense attorney, Mark Jetton.

However, Conkin still had hers. Jetton says she could have faced lengthy suspensions had the convictions all happened in North Carolina, but she is from South Carolina where the punishment isn’t as severe. She has one DWI in Mecklenburg County and two DUI cases in York County, one which resulted in a conviction.

Since the offenses happened in different states, Jetton says that's where things get tricky.

“When you are dealing with DWIs, it always gets tricky when you have multiple states,” said Jetton. “You get a DWI conviction in a state and then you go to another state and that state's DMV doesn't know about this DWI conviction in another state and they issue a license."

Jetton says states do utilize technology to communicate with one another and a previous conviction can be used against you in your home state. Still, he says cases can fall through the cracks.

“What if there are two that are pending at the same time and you get convicted of one, and before that conviction can even be put in the system, you are convicted of the other one, so neither place knew about the other one,” said Jetton. “It’s not a perfect system."

Conkins’ two convictions went through the courts around the same time, so it is possible that they were each treated as first offenses.

Funeral services for De Gonzalez were held Wednesday at St. Marks Catholic Church in Huntersville.