Driver who hit, killed teen to appear in court on Monday

by: Nate Stewart Updated:


ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - The driver who hit and killed a teen pedestrian is slated to appear in court on Monday to face the charges against her.

On Thursday morning, Makinzy Smith, 17, died while on his way to school.

Investigators say he was approaching his school bus stop on Woodleaf Road when he was hit and killed by a car.

Police say 57-year-old Barbara Smith failed to stop for the school bus stop sign.

On Friday morning, a trooper said it does not appear that excessive speed played a factor in the crash.

He said it appears inattention was the biggest contributor to the accident.

She is facing a charge of felony death by motor vehicle, and got out of jail on bond Thursday.

The school’s principal told Eyewitness News that Smith was very involved in the ROTC program and even creative writing at school.

His friends said he was always there for others.

The mood at Smith's school was somber on Thursday.

Students told Channel 9 they learned about the accident after first period Thursday morning.

"People were crying and sharing memories of him," said student Baylie Hain. "It was sad to see people so close to him so sad."

As the final bell rang, students at the school said it was difficult to focus in class after the tragedy.

Some who shared classes with Smith said he kept to himself and was always nice.

Others had questions about the crash.

"Why didn't the lady stop?" asked one student.

Troopers said Barbara Smith, no relation, failed to stop for the school bus' mechanical stop sign, hitting and killing the teen.

Barbara Smith held on to her family after the crash before she was booked into the Rowan County Jail on a charge of felony death by vehicle.

Barbara Smith bonded of jail Thursday afternoon.  Her daughter told Channel 9 she is devastated.

"It's a horrible thing that has happened as we're all sorry for the family and their loss," Smith's daughter said.

Students said they will continue to grieve.

"I never saw him be mean to anybody. He was always trying to help people," said Tanner Lloyd.

Funeral services fro Makinzy will be Saturday at 6 p.m. at Summerset Funeral Home in Salisbury.

Earlier this year, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that will increase the penalties for accidents involving school buses. The law takes effect on Dec. 1.

Drivers who are caught passing a school bus would be charged with a misdemeanor and $500 fine.

If drivers don't stop and they hit a child, it will be a felony with a $2,500 fine.

A child's death would raise it to $5,000.