Crime & Courts

Neither driver cited in Cam Newton’s crash

Neither driver has been cited in Tuesday’s two-vehicle crash that left Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton hospitalized, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report released Wednesday.

The report lists the driver of the other vehicle as Nestor Pellot Jr., 46.

Newton and Pellot were injured in the crash about 12:30 p.m. on South Church Street in uptown Charlotte, near the on-ramp to Interstate 277. Pellot was treated and released from Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. Newton, who suffered two fractured bones in his lower back, was hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center overnight and released Wednesday morning.

Newton suffered two transverse process fractures as a result of the accident. The injury does not typically result in structural damage but is rather a matter of pain tolerance.

The Panthers announced Newton would not play Sunday in the game against Tampa Bay.

The collision report does not assign blame to either driver in the crash. But it lists two witnesses who said Pellot’s car appeared to pull out in front of Newton’s truck.

The police report said Newton was driving 35 mph in a 35 mph zone, and that Pellot was driving 20 mph at the time of impact.

Contacted at his house Wednesday, Pellot shook his head “no” when asked if he would talk about the crash. Asked how he was doing, he said, “Thank you for coming by” and shut the door.

Newton left the hospital with his parents, Charlie Dayton, the director of communications for the Panthers, said Wednesday morning. “His spirits were high. They expected stiffness and soreness, and his recovery will be day-to-day.”

Late Wednesday, Newton posted a picture of his mangled truck and a message on his official Facebook page.

“ by the look of that picture soMEone is supposed to be dead or severely injured worse than what I am right now! While I am resting up the thought that keeps flashing in my mind is that GOD IS GOOD and someone has there protective hands on my life shielding me from any danger that may come my way!”

Report details crash

Tuesday’s violent collision sent Newton’s black 1998 Dodge truck tumbling sideways across a bridge over the John Belk Freeway (Interstate 277) less than two blocks from Bank of America Stadium. The truck came to rest on the passenger side, its roof flattened.

Newton lifted himself out through the back window and staggered over to the side of the bridge, where he waited for medical help.

The crash report shows Newton’s truck suffered about $9,000 in damage. Pellot’s 2013 Buick suffered $4,000 damage.

According to police, Newton told them he was driving on Church Street when Pellot’s vehicle pulled in front of him. Pellot told police he was on Hill Street attempting to cross Church Street to get on the John Belk Freeway and didn’t see Newton’s truck approaching.

Two separate witnesses – one of whom was driving behind Newton and the other behind Pellot – each told police that Pellot appeared to pull out in front of Newton’s truck.

Court records show each driver has been cited for speeding in the past.

Newton was cited in 2012 with driving 57 mph in a 35 mph zone. That citation was waived by the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Courts after Newton paid a fine and court costs.

Pellot was ticketed in 1998 with driving 74 mph in a 55 mph zone. That citation was lowered to 64 mph in a 55 mph zone, and, as was the case with Newton’s citation, Pellot’s ticket was waived by the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Courts after he paid a fine and court costs.

A dangerous intersection

South Church and West Hill streets, where the accident happened, is becoming one of Charlotte’s most hazardous intersections. It ranked fourth this year on the city’s list of places where crashes are most likely to occur. It ranked eighth last year and 17th in 2012, records show.

As many as 15 motorists have been injured in wrecks there since 2009, records show.

A witness to Tuesday’s accident, Tony Douglas, said he was walking on Church Street when he saw a Buick sedan and Newton’s truck collide. Douglas said the truck was heading south on Church and the sedan was crossing Church from Hill Street when they collided. Douglas said he ran to the truck and saw Newton inside.

Afterward, he said, Newton “was alert. He was in pain.” Staff reporter Jonathan Jones contributed.

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