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home : news : law enforcement March 20, 2023

3/18/2023 12:33:00 AM

NC Highway Patrol

On Friday afternoon (March 17th) at about 1:15, the NC State Highway Patrol responded to and investigated a fatal collision on Startown Road near Ritchie Road tht resulted in the death of a four-year-old child.
A Mercedes ML 350 traveling north on Startown Road failed to reduce speed adequately, and collided with a 1994 Toyota truck that was stopped, waiting to turn. 

The driver of the Mercedes, Tracy Michelle Blanton, 40, of Lincolnton, was not injured.  The driver of the Toyota, Jorge Isabel Vivas, 63, of Lincolnton, was not injured. Two passengers in the Toyota, ages 8 and 2, were injured and transported by EMS to area hospitals.  A 4-year-old in the Toyota succumbed to his injuries at the scene.  The passengers in the Toyota were not restrained by car seats.   

The initial investigation indicates impairment to be a contributing factor.  Blanton was arrested and charged with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed, possession of methamphetamine, and multiple vehicle violations.  She received a $65,000 bond and iwas jailed at the Harven Crouse Detention Center.  Startown Road was closed for approximately 2 hours during the on-scene investigation.


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