• Officials: Driver who led officials on chase could face more charges

    By: Mark Becker


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Highway Patrol said the driver who led troopers on a chase that hit 130 mph Tuesday afternoon could face more serious charges if a woman who jumped out of the car he was driving does not survive her injuries.
    Troopers charged Willie Wright, 27, with a long list of traffic violations, including speeding, failure to stop for a blue light and felony hit-and-run.
    First Sgt. Kelly Sturgill said a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer had first spotted a stolen Mazda near I-85 and Freedom Drive and started to chase it but backed off when the driver didn’t stop.
    Moments later, she said, a trooper spotted the same Mazda still speeding.
    “He activated his emergency equipment, the vehicle started to move to the right shoulder and slow down,” Sturgill said.
    When the car slowed to about 30 or 40 mph, she said a woman jumped out of the passenger door and into danger.
    “The vehicle she was jumping from, her foot got caught up underneath it and that vehicle ran over her,” Sturgill said.
    Police and the Highway Patrol identified that woman as Amanda Smith, 27, and say she is in critical condition.
    If she dies from her injuries, Sturgill said Wright could face a more serious charge related to her death.

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