• Police: Passenger dead, driver charged after car smashes into tree in south Charlotte

    By: Stephanie Tinoco

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A passenger died when he was ejected from a car after crashing into a tree Friday afternoon in south Charlotte, police said.

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    The crash happened just after 3 p.m. on Archdale and Ashcrest drives.

    Driver Jose Mario Mejia Gutierrez, 21, has been charged in the crash that killed 19-year-old Faustino Israel Ponce Romero.

    (Jose Mario Mejia Gutierrez)

    Police said the driver lost control of the car when speeding around a curve.

    Police said Gutierrez is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and not having an operator's license. 

    A portion of Archdale Drive was shut down, from Montcrest Drive to Cherrycrest Lane.

    Neighbors said the accident happened at a school bus stop. On Friday, the bus was late so no children were there at the time of the accident.

    “I don’t want to get emotional, but I was home reading my Bible for at least two hours, praying and I’m just thankful,” nearby resident Nechell Wilson said.

    She wants something to be done so another tragedy doesn't take place near her home.

    “I hope something can be done for the safety of everyone in the neighborhood,” Wilson said. “Especially the kids when they’re walking home.”

    Mejia-Gutierrez is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday, Jan. 14. 

    Check back to wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

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