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Driver charged in pedestrian fatality

Police say speed, alcohol and drugs played a role in a pedestrian fatality on East Independence Boulevard early Friday.

Marcus Lofton, 29, is charged with driving while impaired, felony involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to a half-ounce.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Lofton was driving a 2007 Toyota Camry that hit Henry Chism, 26, on Independence Boulevard around 3:15 a.m.

That portion of outbound East Independence Boulevard is mainly freeway with a speed limit that ranges from 50 mph to 55 mph, between where Charlottetowne Avenue merges onto the road and Bojangles’ Coliseum.

There is a shoulder to the right of the traffic lanes, but no openings in the concrete-barrier median for a pedestrian to cross. It’s unclear where on the road the Chism was hit.

According to a police statement, Lofton was traveling at a high rate of speed when he allegedly struck Chism with the left front bumper, throwing him onto the hood, window and roof of the car.

Police said Lofton continued to drive about a mile before stopping on Briar Creek Road. Chism died at the scene.

Lofton was taken to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center with minor injuries. According to court and police records, Lofton’s 29th birthday was Thursday.

Lofton has never been convicted, but has in the past been charged with drug and numerous Mecklenburg County traffic incidents, including reckless driving to endanger and speeding 56 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or Detective Steve Williams at 704-336-8862.

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

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