The Charlotte Observer reports this morning that a Waxhaw 16-year-old died Saturday night when a Dodge SUV with seven occupants hit a tree off Lancaster Highway. The driver, Kemthia Garlins, 20, of Monroe, was charged with driving while impaired. More charges are pending based on conversations with the district attorney’s office and the results of her blood-alcohol content tests, N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper John Burgin said.
Garlins was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Burgin said he wasn’t sure if she remained in critical condition Monday afternoon. Autumn Nichole Plyler, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene, Burgin said. Her sister, Alexis Dawn Plyler, 18, was also in the car. Alexis Plyler was hospitalized along with the car’s other passengers, all of Monroe: Emmanuel Tillman, 19; Kenya Derry, 19; Jacques Black, 19; and Jehon Black, 21. Jehon Black was riding in the front passenger seat, and the other passengers were all in the back seat.
Autumn Plyler was not wearing a seat belt and was sitting on another passenger’s lap in the back seat, Burgin said.
Burgin said alcohol was found in the vehicle, and Alcohol Law Enforcement is investigating. One passenger, Jehon Black, was old enough to drink legally, but Burgin said officials have reason to believe other people in the car were drinking.
The car was driving south on N.C. 200, which is Lancaster Highway, just before 11 p.m. Saturday when it ran off the road to the right. The driver over-corrected, running the car across the center line and off the road to the left, where it hit a tree, N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Jeff Gordon said.
The vehicle accident happened five miles south of Wax-haw and 0.3 miles south of Steele Road, Gordon said.