No easy answers on why hit-and-run case was dismissed
By Shavonne Potts
Stacy McCluney has unanswered questions about the hit-and-run death of her son, Tony Ramsey, one year ago.
She fears she may never get answers.
“I’m not going to have peace until I get them answered,” McCluney said.
On Aug. 19, 2007, Tony was walking along West Innes Street with two friends when he was struck. The 15-year-old would have been a freshman at North Rowan High School.
The woman who authorities said struck the teen, Tonya Yvette Clodfelter, 41, was charged with felony hit-and-run. The charges against Clodfelter have since been dismissed.
All of the parties involved attended a probable cause hearing in November.
McCluney said that during the hearing, an attorney read a statement from Clodfelter’s son in which he said he witnessed the accident and told his mother she was about to hit someone.
According to Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, there were was no probable cause to pursue a criminal proceeding.
He explained that a case must meet a certain amount of proof to determine that a crime occurred and a defendant committed the crime in order to proceed with prosecution in a felony offense.
“The state has a burden of proof in showing the crime probably was committed. There wasn’t any question that she hit this young person. But there are specific elements that have to be met and not all of the elements were met,” Kenerly said.
In her statement to the Highway Patrol, Clodfelter admitted hitting something, but she said she swerved after seeing a group of teens pointing toward the sky. She thought they had weapons.
Clodfelter then drove home and had a neighbor call 911.
The N.C. Highway Patrol collision report by Trooper M.E. Heon shows that Clodfelter was traveling north on West Innes Street. The teens were walking in the same direction. Clodfelter swerved to the left to avoid pedestrians on the right side of the road, the report said.
“Vehicle 1 collided with the pedestrian in the road. Vehicle 1 then left the scene northward,” the report said.
McCluney just wants to know why.
“Why did it take her to go home to get someone to call 911?” McCluney asked. “Why didn’t she stop?”
She said Clodfelter never tried to contact her. McCluney said she would not speak to Clodfelter if she tried.
Kenerly said McCluney could pursue a civil suit. She declined to comment about whether she would.