Man indicted in crash that killed China Grove girl

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

A Rowan County grand jury this week indicted a Jamestown man accused of driving while impaired and causing a wreck that resulted in the death of an 8-year-old China Grove girl.

The grand jury returned a true bill of indictment against Ross Edward Neese, 25, of 2106 Shimer Drive. On Dec. 8, his sport utility vehicle crashed into a car, injuring three people and killing Patricia “Patty” Burgdoff. The accident happened on U.S. 29 in China Grove.

Neese was indicted on two counts of felony serious injury by vehicle, a new law as of Dec. 1. He was also indicted for driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle.

Authorities say Neese was speeding and driving erratically when he struck the rear of a 2003 Toyota Corolla in which Burgdoff was riding. The girl was pinned in the car. She died upon impact.

Burgdoff was in the back seat of a car driven by Shania Thompson of Kannapolis.

Shania’s husband, Michael Thompson, was a passenger. Shania’s son, Justin Morgan, 7, was in the back seat with Burgdoff.

The Thompsons and Morgan received varying injuries. They have all since been released from the hospital.

China Grove Police Chief Hodge Coffield said Neese, who was driving a 1997 Ford Explorer, was traveling behind Thompson’s Corolla in the left lane. A third car, driven by David M. Clark, of Whisper Drive, China Grove, was also struck.

Neese’s Explorer hit Thompson’s vehicle from behind. It then spun and hit Clark’s car. Coffield said Thompson’s car was hit at an estimated 70 mph.

Witnesses said they’d seen the Explorer being driven erratically and saw him run a stop light near Landis.

Neese’s case is pending in Rowan Superior Court. He is set for an arraignment, the date of which has not been set. At the arraignment, he will have the opportunity to receive a court-appointed attorney or hire his own.

Neese remains out on bond. He posted a $20,000 bond a day after the crash.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or