North Carolina

Teammate charged in death of NC football player who fell out of back of pickup truck

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A high school senior is facing criminal charges in the death of a 15-year-old football teammate who fell from the back of a pickup truck on campus days before classes started.

Police did not release the name of the 17-year-old student, who was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle on Aug. 16, Town of Mooresville spokesperson Kim Sellers said Thursday.

Officials say the student was driving a truck in the Mooresville High School parking lot on Aug. 3 when Gavin Sharpe fell from the back during a service project at the football stadium. Sharpe died from his injuries two days later.

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“To protect the privacy of our students involved, Mooresville Graded Schools will not be releasing any additional statements or information regarding this tragic accident,” schools spokesperson Tanae Sump-McLean said in an email Thursday.

Iredell Firewire, which reports public safety news in Iredell County, said in a tweet Aug. 3 that emergency workers responded to an incident at the high school around 1 p.m. and found Sharpe unconscious.

Hundreds went to the high school the following night for a candlelight vigil to pray for his recovery, social media posts show.

But Sharpe died the next morning — one day before the start of his sophomore year at Mooresville High School.

The 15-year-old was on the football, wrestling and track and field teams and had a “contagious smile, loved everyone and never met a stranger,” according to his obituary.

“He was an encouragement to his teammates and friends both on and off the field,” the obituary reads. “He was loved by so many and he will live on in our hearts forever.”

Family friends started a GoFundMe page that has since raised nearly $15,000 for the Sharpe family. The fundraising goal is $30,000.

Mooresville resident Eric Davis, who set up the page, said in an update on GoFundMe that his family had spent time with the Sharpes, “sharing memories and talking about how many people Gavin touched in his life.”

“We visited his resting place on a beautiful evening, the air was still and the sky was perfect,” Davis said.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.