Loved ones reliving Charlotte woman's hit-and-run death, as suspect is arrested again

Driver charged with DWI years after escaping jail time in fatal hit-and-run

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A hit-and-run driver who killed a woman crossing a street in South End two years ago is facing new charges. Jeffrey Laforce Jr. received no prison time for causing the death of Jessica Morrell in 2017.

This weekend, Morrell's family and friends learned that Laforce was arrested again, charged with DWI.

On March 4, 2017, Morrell, 31, was walking across a crosswalk at the intersection of South Tryon and Bland streets when Laforce ran the red light, hit her and didn't stop.

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He entered a plea deal and received a suspended sentence, probation and his driver's license was taken away for a year.

Meghan Dianetti was Morrell's closest friend.

"We were so disappointed. We thought he'd at least get some jail time," she said. "Jess was like my sister. She was supposed to be my maid of honor, and this guy took that away from me. So, it's very difficult."

A family member of Morrell learned of Laforce's arrest Saturday for DWI and told others.  Court records said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.21.

"We just hate that he's out on the streets again, doing this again, like he learned nothing the first time," Dianetti said.

When the deadly hit-and-run case went to court in 2018, prosecutors could not prove that Laforce was drunk at the time of the crash. He turned himself in the following morning and any sobriety test would not have shown intoxication by then.

His court date for the DWI charge is in May.

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