UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The NAACP is now getting involved after a mother of a 1-year-old who was swept into floodwaters created by Hurricane Florence was charged in the boy's death.
Authorities filed criminal charges against Dazia Ideah Lee, of Charlotte, after she allegedly drove around barricades on NC Highway 218 during the storm, an act that led to the drowning of her 1-year-old son, officials said.
Lee, 20, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a closed/unopened highway.
The NAACP said the road was unfamiliar to her, and she panicked. The group is questioning why she’s been charged.
“If she were white this wouldn't have happened? She wouldn't be charged, and, in fact, the entire community would surround her and love on her and pray with her,” said Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP.
Mack claimed the charges are racially motivated.
“I think at minimum implicit bias, at worst, racism and bigotry,” Mack said.
Authorities said the water from a rain-swollen creek pushed her car off the road and left her stuck in a group of trees on the night of Sept. 16. Lee said she was able to get Kaiden Lee-Welch out of the car, but the water caused her to lose her grip.
Multiple law enforcement teams searched for Kaiden that night and again in the morning, when his body was found.
A spokesperson for the Union County Sheriff’s Office told Channel 9 via text, "Any further statement or comments about this matter, given that it is a pending court case, would be inappropriate."
Mack said the tragedy was nothing more than an accident.
“I’m trying to figure out which law she broke,” Mack said.
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