Woman dies in accident

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2012

By Karissa Minn
MOUNT ULLA — A woman died and three people, including a child, were injured Thursday morning in a two-vehicle wreck near the Rowan-Iredell county line.
According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, a silver Toyota passenger car ran off the road to the right while traveling south on N.C. 801 toward Mooresville. Investigators say the driver, a 33-year-old woman, overcorrected as she steered the car back onto the roadway, striking a gold Chevrolet HHR station wagon going in the opposite direction.
The Toyota spun around and came to rest facing backwards, with the front driver’s side crumpled in, while the Chevrolet slammed sideways into a tree.
Emergency responders initially said the 45-year-old driver of the Chevrolet was pinned in the vehicle and they were trying to get her out, but she died before they could. Witnesses said the woman was conscious and speaking when rescue crews arrived.
No names were released Thursday. A Highway Patrol trooper said authorities were trying to contact family members, and charges are pending.
Kim Campbell, of Mooresville, was driving north on N.C. 801 toward Salisbury when she came upon the accident around 7:45 a.m., just seconds after it happened.
Campbell reached the Toyota as a man jumped out of the passenger’s side and threw open the back door.
“He grabbed his baby and screamed, ‘She’s unconscious — hold my baby, hold my baby,’” Campbell said.
She said the man rushed back to get his wife, who had been driving him to work.
“It wasn’t but a few minutes that the little girl came back to consciousness,” Campbell said. “She started screaming as I held her, and I stayed with her until the ambulance came.”
The man, woman and child in the Toyota were taken to CMC-NorthEast with injuries. The little girl told Campbell that she was 4 years old and her head hurt, and Campbell said she kept the child talking to make sure she was OK. She said the man looked like he may have hurt his hip, and his wife had at least one broken leg.
Tim Vanstrom awoke to the crash Thursday morning that he first thought was thunder.
When he realized there had been an accident, he went outside and saw two smashed cars in front of the home he was visiting in the 15000 block of N.C. 801.
The people in the Toyota had already gotten out, so Vanstrom rushed to the woman in the Chevrolet. He said he talked with her until rescuers got there. She asked witnesses to help her get out, but there was nothing they could do.
“It’s kind of a shock she didn’t make it,” Vanstrom said. “I mean, you could see how bad her car was and how her legs were pinned. But I didn’t think she would pass away.”
Brittany Starnes, who lives in the house, said she was lying in bed awake after her alarm went off when she heard a loud thud.
“I looked out the window to see what it was, and I saw a car in the tree,” Starnes said.
As others ran outside to check on the victims, Starnes called 911.
“It’s just crazy,” she said. “It really brings into perspective how short life is, and how you never know what’s going to happen. The craziest part is she was talking, she was going to be fine, and now she’s no longer with us.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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