by: Jim Bradley Updated:
WADESBORO, N.C. - Police in Wadesboro now say they don't plan to charge a driver they initially alleged was texting while driving moments before a fatal crash.
Four people were hospitalized and a 13-month old baby was killed when a vehicle driven by Alex Hooper of Cramerton crossed the center line and struck another vehicle along U.S. Highway 74 in Anson County on Christmas Day.
In a police report released this week an investigator wrote that "Mr. Hooper was texting while driving just moments before the collision, which distracted his attention from the highway." The report went on to say "Mr. Hooper sent a text message… stating 'Merry Christmas.'"
Family members of Hooper told Eyewitness News Tuesday they had reason to doubt the investigator's claims and Wadesboro police said they were wrong.
Police Chief Thedis Spencer said a closer look at phone records showed that Hooper sent no text messages at the time of the crash.
Police said Hooper was sent a text message from another phone.
Spencer said there's no evidence Hooper ever opened it.
"I can't, no, I can't say he was. I mean, there's no way I could sit there and say that he was distracted by a text they sent to him," Spencer said. "The charge for texting and driving -- he's not going to be charged with that."
Hooper's family declined to comment on camera about the police decision.
Wadesboro police said they still plan to cite Hooper for crossing the center line, but plan to wait until after the funeral of 13-month old Alexis Hooper, who was killed in the crash.
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