Victims named in fatal Shelby crash, driver charged with murder, DWI

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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SHELBY, N.C. - Shelby police charged Demetrist Lendell Roberts, 34, with two counts of second-degree murder and driving while under the influence in a fatal crash that killed two people and critically injured a boy Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said at about 1:10 p.m. a Shelby police officer saw Roberts speeding down Dixon Boulevard in a 2002 Buick Lesabre, according to a news release from the Shelby Police Department.

The officer attempted to stop Roberts but he kept driving, which led to a pursuit.

The officer called off the chase because of heavy traffic.

Shortly afterward Roberts ran a red light at the intersection of Marion and Lafayette streets, hitting a 2007 Ford Taurus that was traveling southbound on the passenger door.

"I saw the spinning car come around the corner first, then there was a large boom like an explosion it sounded like a bomb went off,” a witness said.

Another witness said, "You could feel it all thorugh your  body it was so loud."

Two occupants inside the Taurus died at the scene. A third occupant, a young boy, was ejected from the car and airlifted to at least two hospitals. He was listed in critical condition Saturday night.

The two people killed in the crash were the boy's relatives, according to officials.

Witnesses said their thoughts and prayers are with the boy.

“It was very bad and I don’t know if that little boy that got hit is OK or not,” one witness said.

Names of victims have not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Roberts was also charged with felony speed to elude arrest, driving while license revoked and speeding.

He is being held at the Cleveland County Detention Center without bond.

The investigation is ongoing.

Roberts has been arrested five times in Cleveland County over the last 14 years.

The charges include possessing stolen goods, DWI and speeding to elude arrest. His last arrest was in 2008.