• Driver charged after deadly crash with bus carrying preschoolers in Stanly Co.

    By: DaShawn Brown , Liz Foster

    Updated:

    STANLY COUNTY, N.C. - The driver who caused a deadly crash with a school bus carrying more than a dozen preschoolers last week in Stanly County has been charged, troopers said. 

    Officials said Elvy Flores-Matamor was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, failure to stop at a stop sign, and driving without a driver's license. 

    Flores-Matamor was given citations and was not booked into jail, according to Highway Patrol troopers. 

    Troopers said Cynthia Thomas, a driver who crashed into the bus, died Sunday, five days after her Toyota Scion crashed into an Early Head Start school bus that overturned after a pickup truck failed to stop at a stop sign.

    Seventeen people were injured and Thomas was flown to the hospital after the crash last Tuesday on U.S. Highway 52 near Quail Ridge Road south of Albemarle in Stanly County. 

    [Photos: Head Start school bus overturns in Stanly County]

    Officials told Channel 9 the investigating trooper is meeting with the district attorney to determine if charges will be filed.

    Kiara Smith told Channel 9's Dashawn Brown four of her children were on the bus -- two sets of twins ages 3 and 4.

    "It was very unexpected. We were sitting waiting for them to come to the bus stop and a guy came over and said the kids have been in an accident on the bus," she said.

    Troopers said a 2012 Dodge pickup truck towing a trailer was traveling east on Quail Ridge Road when it failed to stop at a stop sign and slammed into the bus that was traveling north on U.S. Highway 52, carrying 15 preschoolers and two adults.

    Most of them were taken to Atrium-Stanly to be checked out. They had non-life-threatening injuries.

    Thomas was driving a 2005 Toyota Scion that was traveling behind the school bus and also crashed, troopers said.

    "Only thing I knew, I just saw the bus. Only thing I know, I just wanted to get to my children. It was like I was trying to get to them and I couldn't go," said Smith.

    Smith and her mother, Clara Harden, described nothing short of heroism on the part of the bus driver and school staff to make sure the children were accounted for and safe.

    "When I finally saw my kids, the only thing I wanted to do was just hold my kids," said Smith. 


    Smith sent Channel 9 a sweet video from home showing her kids all smiles after being released from the hospital.

    "Just know that God is real. It's a feeling that you barely even get just to be able to see your kids still talking. Still talking. Still here. It wasn't anybody but God," she said.

    Return to this story for updates.

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