Crime & Courts

Police: woman on cell phone crashed into stopped tractor-trailer

A Charlotte woman who police believe was distracted by her cell phone drove into a stopped tractor-trailer that had been involved in a collision in Gaston County, sending her to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The series of wrecks happened on Interstate 85 southbound near Long Avenue just before 9 a.m. Sunday. A tractor-trailer traveling in the right lane was struck by a Honda Pilot SUV that was trying to merge from the middle lane.

The SUV’s driver, Junior Santos, 26, and his passenger, Vilma Posadas, were both taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. Santos was ultimately charged with driving without a license, driving while impaired and unsafe lane change. The tractor-trailer’s driver, Samuel Deal, of Murphy, was not injured.

After the collision, Deal stopped his truck in the right lane with the hazard lights on.

About a minute later, a 2006 Chevrolet HHR driven by Aundrea Parsons, 37, of Charlotte, crashed into the stopped truck. Gastonia police said there were no signs of braking.

“It is believed Ms. Parsons was distracted by her cell phone by trying to make a call at the time of the collision,” Gastonia police said in a news release. Parsons didn’t appear to be speeding or impaired.

Parsons was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, then airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson