Officials: 2 dead, 3 taken to hospital in Matthews wreck

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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MATTHEWS, N.C. - A man accused of driving drunk and killing a woman and her mother was in the hospital in good condition Thursday night.

Investigators said the women were the mother and grandmother of two small children.

Police said 62-year-old Marie Crook was driving a Honda CRV with her 37-year-old daughter Jennifer Hunt and Hunt's two daughters, ages 10 and 5, inside.

They said Crook was trying to turn left from Matthews Township Parkway onto Independence around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when Justin Jones, driving a Chevy Trailblazer, hit them.

Hunt and Crook were killed. The girls had minor injuries in the wreck but were expected to be released before Thursday night.

Police charged Jones, 28, with DWI and reckless driving and say more charges are pending.

The crash happened near the entrance of the Matthews Festival shopping center.

At least one person called 911, reporting that people were "pinned" inside the vehicle.

Neighbors said Crook worked at Lowe's, just up the road on Matthews Township Parkway.

They said she had recently moved in with Hunt to help her raise her daughters.

Family friend and neighbor Don Clary could barely speak when he heard the news.

He said Hunt was warm, friendly, and devoted to her daughters. He also said she was active at Next Level Church in Matthews.

"She was just a good Christian little girl, worked herself every day or so out there at the church," Clary said.

Clary described Crook as fiery and protective.

"Somebody cross her and the babies, she would get right on them, little bitty lady," he said.

One of Jones' neighbors said she never imagined he could be a part of a criminal investigation.

"It's a shocker," she said. "He seems like a very, very nice guy. I'm sorry to hear that."