‘Just devastating’: Woman headed to dentist killed in head-on crash; driver charged

HICKORY, N.C. — Friends are mourning a Catawba County woman who was killed Monday in a deadly head-on crash in Hickory.

61-year-old Leisa White died in the wreck around 1:30 p.m. The driver of the other vehicle has been charged with DWI.

White died at the scene of the crash on Highway 70 SE, Hickory police said.

Aaron Lee Walker, 26, of Newton, crossed into the oncoming lane, hitting White’s vehicle head-on, investigators said.

White’s friends told Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty that she had left work to go to the dentist when the crash happened.

One of White’s neighbors, Jonathan Howard, drove past the wreck shortly after lunchtime on Monday, but had no idea it was his friend who died.

“People make bad choices,” he told Channel 9. “I think about her family more than I do her right now. And the family of the person who did this. It’s just devastating.”

Another neighbor, Tim Sullivan, said he was in disbelief that White was killed in an accident that should never have happened.

“Good-spirited woman, was friendly. Loved to talk with her,” he said. “She’d come around back, we’d let the dogs play. And I think if you’re under the influence you ought to be held accountable for your actions.”

Two close friends of White said she had two children and six grandchildren. They told Channel 9 that White worked at a restaurant because she loved to be around people.

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Walker was arrested and faces felony charges of death by motor vehicle; possession of drug paraphernalia; and careless and reckless driving. He is being held on a $121,500 secured bond.

Court documents reveal that police found that Walker had a needle and a spoon with residue on it at the time of the crash.