Driver facing charges after crash that killed 2 children



None - A driver is facing charges after police say he hit and killed two young boys, ages 1 and 5, in west Charlotte Wednesday.

The accident happened at the corner of Shady Lane and Tyvola Road shortly after 8 a.m.

SLIDESHOW: Scene of fatal crash

CHOPPER: Scene of fatal west Charlotte crash

The boys’ father said he was walking his sons, 5-year-old Kadrien Pendergrass and 1-year-old Jeremy Brewton, to their day care on West Boulevard when the crash happened.

He told police that he was walking along the edge of the roadway with his children and was pushing a stroller. The 5-year-old boy was also pushing a stroller, police said.

The driver of a cargo truck was trying to make a right turn onto West Tyvola Road when he hit the two boys, according to police.

Dorothy Jones lives across the street and heard Jeremy Brewton yelling.

"When I opened the door, he was like, 'My babies, they've been hit,'" Jones said.

Jones tried CPR on the 1-year-old, Jeremy, and she said a woman driving by pulled over and did CPR on the 5-year-old, Kadrien.

"She said, 'I got a pulse, we got a pulse,'" she said. "She started working on the 1-year-old ... she couldn’t get a pulse."

Jones gave her phone to Brewton so he could call the boys' mother. When the mother called back, Jones answered the phone.

"She said, 'Something bad happened, I feel it,'" Jones said the mother told her. "I said, 'God got your babies, it's going to be all right,' and she hung up."        

The boys were rushed to an area hospital, where they were pronounced dead. The boys’ father and the other child with them were not injured.

Neighbors have long considered West Tyvola Road near Shady Lane dangerous because there's no sidewalk or shoulder, and they petitioned the city to make it safer.

Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield told Eyewitness News the West Tyvola sidewalk project was No. 2 on the city's priorty list, but the city ran out of bond money for new projects at the end of the last fiscal quarter.

"We simply ran out of funding," said Mayfield. "And I really want people to take away from this how important bonds are, because this is one of those pieces of infrastructure that bonds cover."

Mayfield said she'll push for a new bond package for the November election.

"It's very dangerous, and it's families all the time, walking up and down," said Trenise White, who lives on West Tyvola Road.

White thought things were going to change at the beginning of 2011, when she said she saw city crews spray-painting the grass orange.

"They did have markings like they were going to do a sidewalk, but they never did, and the result is two young kids had to lose their life," White said. "That's the reason why we pay taxes. Our city is supposed to take care of the people who live here."

Eyewitness News learned there's a chance a sidewalk can be built before November without new bonds. Mayfield said she plans on addressing this issue at the city council's budget retreat next week.

At Dixon Academy, where the boys were heading, the owner said news of the tragedy hit them hard.

Day care workers mourn boys killed in crash

"They enjoyed life, they had fun. They were only kids," Roslyn Dixon said.

Family members of the two young boys struggled Wednesday to contain their grief.

"Just a tough time, we're trying to get through it," the boys' uncle, Tim Horne, said.

Police said Dirk Jerome Brown, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The family said they were grateful to learn of the driver's arrest.

"He deserves what the police did to him," Horne said.

Eyewitness News spoke with Brown's neighbors, who said he's a very family-oriented man with two of young children. Those neighbors say they are certain he's also devastated by what has happened.

A person who answered the door at the Brown home told Eyewitness News the family had no comment.

Neighbors of the boys said they often played outside, and were friendly and polite.  They walked to and from day care with their dad every day.

"He was a strong father. He walked the kids every morning and every afternoon. I'm just sorry," neighbor Damien Smith said.

A website has been set up for donations to the family of the two boys. Click here to view it.