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Salisbury woman charged in fatal accident in Davidson County

A Salisbury woman attributed falling asleep at the wheel as the cause that led to her crashing her vehicle and killing a passenger on U.S. Highway 52 in Davidson County on Saturday.

Elois Cruz, 64, of 410 Heilig Ave., has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the death of 57-year-old Lucy Michael of Salisbury. Cruz, Michael and 5-year-old Darren Williams of Winston-Salem were in a single-vehicle accident on U.S. 52 southbound near U.S. Highway 64. The accident was reported at 1:55 p.m. to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Cruz and Williams were each transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. A hospital spokeswoman said Monday morning that Cruz was in fair condition, and there was no information available regarding Darren. The Highway Patrol reported that Darren was not injured but transported only as a precautionary measure. Michael died at the scene, said Sgt. Stephen Pace of the Highway Patrol.

Pam Kearns, a spokeswoman for the Highway Patrol, said Cruz was driving a 2002 Saturn passenger vehicle. As she was traveling south on U.S. 52, her vehicle ran off the roadway to the right. That’s when her vehicle collided with an electrical traffic sign and continued forward to collide with a guardrail, according to the Highway Patrol.

Kearns said the vehicle overturned on its right side and ejected Michael onto the shoulder at the guardrail. The Saturn turned back onto its wheels and came to rest near the edge of the U.S. 52 wood line.

Kearns said Cruz told troopers she fell asleep. Her original speed and speed at impact were estimated to be at 65 miles per hour, the posted speed limit in this section of U.S. 52.

Zane Johnson, the investigating trooper, listed the contributing circumstance on a wreck report as operating a vehicle in an erratic and careless manner. The relationships between the three in the vehicle were not available with the Highway Patrol.

Josh Myers, shift supervisor with Davidson County 911, said the West Lexington and Reeds fire departments, the Highway Patrol, Davidson County Rescue Squad and Davidson County EMS responded to the accident.

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