Driver charged with texting in fatal accident

Jessica Bailey Sowell
Jessica Bailey Sowell Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office

A South Carolina woman has been charged with texting while driving following a head-on collision in northwest Charlotte late Sunday that left another driver dead.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Jessica Bailey Sowell, 22, of Clover, S.C., was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, texting and several drug charges.

Sowell was driving outbound on Mount Holly Road just before midnight Sunday, police said, when her Nissan Altima crossed the center line and hit an oncoming vehicle.

The other vehicle, a GMC Yukon, went off the right side of the road and rolled over in a ditch.

Its driver, Casey Clarence Townsend, 53, was trapped in the sport-utility vehicle. MEDIC pronounced him dead at the scene.

Sowell admitted to using her cellphone at the time of the crash, police said. Alcohol and speed don’t appear to be factors, the department said.

Police charged Sowell, in addition the death by vehicle and texting charges, with trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell or deliver MDMA and methamphetamine and other drug-related charges.

She is being held at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office under bonds totaling $314,500.

The crash is under investigation by the department’s Major Crash Investigation Unit. Any witnesses are asked to call Detective Kevin Allred at 704-432-2169.

Henderson: 704-358-5051;

Twitter: @bhender