• Iraq war veteran, girlfriend hit head-on by suspected drunken driver, police say

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An Iraq war veteran and his girlfriend were seriously injured after a suspected drunken driver crossed the median and hit them head -on, police said.

    Richard Hall said he and Rita McKeever were driving on Sugar Creek Road Saturday night to pick up pizza with McKeever's 9-year-old son.

    Hall said as he neared the intersection of Tryon Street and Sugar Creek Road, he noticed a driver in the opposite lane acting strange.

    "I saw a driver's headlights kinda bobble and I thought, he's driving reckless," Hall said, from his hospital bed at CMC-Main.

    Seconds later, police said, Edgar Smith -- just arrested in April on charges of drunk and disorderly -- crossed the median and struck Hall and McKeever head-on, sending their car into a tree.

    Police said Smith hit three other cars before coming to a stop. Officers said he appeared to be intoxicated.

    Hall was disoriented, but said his girlfriend's cries of pain spurred him to action.

    "She was like, I can't feel my legs, I can't feel my legs," Hall said.

    Ignoring the pain from his own fractured hip, he crawled out of his car. With the help of other drivers, he smashed her window open and was able to drag her out.

    McKeever's legs, which had been pinned under the dashboard, were mangled. Doctors say both her femurs and hip bones are shattered.

    McKeever's son was able to walk away, unharmed.

    "I just laid by her and held her hand and waited for the ambulance to get there," Hall said.

    Smith was also injured, and officers said when he is released from the hospital he will face charges of DWI and reckless driving.

    But Hall said he is only focused on his girlfriend's recovery.

    "I'd like to sit here and say I'm mad and want revenge, but I'm not. You know, everyone makes stupid mistakes, he just doesn't know how many lives he's affected," Hall said.

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