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Posted: 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013
By Ken Lemon
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —
Two men face charges in Gaston County after a crash that killed a pregnant woman. Troopers said two brothers caused a deadly crash because of broken tail lights and at least one overloaded truck. Troopers said the trucks should have never been on the road and Tyler and Michael Whitener should have known better, which is why they are charged with involuntary manslaughter. The brothers appeared in court Wednesday. Michael Whitener asked the judge to lower his bond. "I'm a single parent. I got two little girls at home," he said. The judge denied his request. "This is a matter that can very well put you in prison," the judge said. Troopers say he and his brother caused the crash on U.S. Highway 321 near High Shoals in mid-July. They own a landscaping business and were heading home from a job cutting trees. Michael Whitener's truck was overloaded by about 8,000 pounds. Troopers said they were both driving in the dark, 20 miles under the speed limit with broken tail lights. Ashley Watson nearly rear-ended Michael Whitener's truck and trailer that had no lights. She swerved into the left lane and almost hit Tyler Whitener's truck, which also had no tail lights. She then lost control and crashed into a machine the first truck was hauling. Michael Whitenner called 911 after the crash. Troopers said 27-year-old Ashley Watson was driving the speed limit. Her daughter and niece were with her. They survived, but Watson, who was pregnant, died. Troopers said Tyler Whitener kept going after the crash. The judge did not lower his bond either. Watson's family had no comment.
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