13-year-old passenger killed in I-77 crash, troopers say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A teenager was killed Monday afternoon following a crash on Interstate 77 southbound near Westinghouse Boulevard in southwest Charlotte, troopers said.

Officials told Channel 9 13-year-old passenger Justice Freeman died in the crash and that another person was seriously hurt.

Circumstances surrounding the accident are still unclear, troopers say. They do believe there is at least one witness to the accident.

"We did have one witness that stopped briefly and then proceeded on after medic and EMS started arriving," Trooper Ray Pierce from NC Highway Patrol said. "We'd love to talk to that witness."

Troopers said the driver was Justice's father, Richard Freeman.  They said he was driving a red Mazada SUV just before 2 o'clock Monday afternoon when he veered off the interstate and overcorrected, which caused him to lose control and plow through a speed limit sign and eventually into a guardrail.

Reports show both Richard Freeman and Justice were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Investigators think speed played a role. Troopers are looking into the weather conditions at the time of the crash, what kind of shape the SUV was in beforehand and how fast Freeman may have been going at the time.

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