Friend speaks after teen dies hours after car crash

by: Ken Lemon Updated:


ANSON COUNTY, N.C. - Troopers said an 18-year-old was driving about an 100 mph when he crashed a car into a tree 2:30 Sunday morning.

All three in the car climbed out of the wreckage on Pinkston Road and thought they were OK and went home, but one of the teens died hours later.

Alex Velez, one of the teenagers, said the three of them graduated from Anson High School last spring and developed a close bond.

He is grieving his good friend Joshua Ponds and wondering if he will be charged even though he wasn't behind the wheel.

"I don't understand how I am the one still sitting here and Josh is the one gone," Velez said.

Velez is nursing a sprained ankle from the crash Sunday morning that claimed Ponds' life.

"It just doesn't feel real to me, you know?" he said.

Velez said he, Ponds, and their friend, Michael Kelly, were headed to McDonald's around 2:30 in the morning.

He said Kelly, who was driving, hit speeds of up to 120 mph on Pinkston River Road near Ansonville.

"I asked him to slow down. I told him, 'McDonald's is going to be open all night,'" Velez said.

He said they ran off the road at about 100 mph and hit a tree. He said Kelly immediately got upset with himself.

"He was like, 'Why did I do that? Why did I do that? Why was I going that fast? Is everybody OK? Please tell me everybody is OK. I couldn't live with it if I hurt anybody,'" Velez said.

Velez said everyone seemed to be fine, including Ponds, who was in the back seat.

The teens called a friend to pick them up and never reported the crash.

A couple of hours later, Ponds began bleeding at home and then passed out.

"I watched my best friend die for probably two or three hours and I never even knew anything was wrong with him," Velez said.

The crash was not reported to troopers until after Ponds died at the hospital. Troopers also want to know why the teens didn't contact medics.

"If they would have done that you know, things may have been different," said Trooper Colt Honeycutt with North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Troopers are talking to the district attorney about possible charges in this case

Velez said he has been told he could be charged for not contacting law enforcement. Eyewitness News tried contacting Kelly but has not heard back.