A driver and his passenger were killed when a speeding driver smashed into their car on a busy Charlotte road, hurling them into a utility pole, police said Saturday.
Rodney Grier, the 32-year-old driver who was hit, and Emanuel Jackson, his 37-year-old passenger, were pronounced dead at the scene by Medic, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department news release.
Leroy Hopkins, the 26-year-old Audi SUV driver accused of hitting them, was charged with two counts involuntary manslaughter, speeding and reckless driving, Mecklenburg County Jail records show.
Hopkins was hospitalized with minor injuries and later released, police said. He lives in Rock Hill, jail records show.
Just before 9 p.m. Friday, Grier was turning left off Wilkinson Boulevard onto Donald Ross Road when Hopkins hit them, police said. Everyone had a seat belt on, according to CMPD.
A recent investigation by The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer found that extreme speeding has become rampant in North Carolina. Among the reasons: Enforcement has been spotty, and the state’s overwhelmed courts let most speeders off easy. As a result, many in North Carolina are able to drive at dangerous speeds, avoid punishment and remain behind the wheel.
Police said they were still investigating the circumstances of Friday’s wreck and urged anyone with information to call them at 704-432-2169, extension 4, or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.