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home : news : news June 10, 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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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2023
Article comment by: Brittany Thomason

Shouldn't the driver of the Toyota also be charged? Those babies should have been in car seats and seat belts. I do believe it's the law to wear proper restraints while riding or driving in a vehicle. Tracy is actually a really good person and a mother of a 14yrs & 4yrs old daughters in which she loves very much. I'm most definitely sure she is beating herself up right now over the mistake she has made. She obviously is battling demons just like each and everyone of us are except just different ones on different levels. I get she was in the wrong but I have to say she truly didn't mean too. We have all been guilty of not paying attention and guilty of speeding at some point. We just got lucky we weren't in an accident ourselves. People are so quick to judge someone out of hurt and anger. Truth is God himself is the only one that can do that. We are supposed to love one another and help each other. As a mother of 4, which my youngest is 4, my heart breaks for the family who lost a precious little boy so soon. My heart also breaks for Tracy and her family especially her children. Even though Tracy may be battling her demons one thing is certain, she is a hard worker. I know this because I'm her boss. At any given time I call her for work she is there and she never half way does her job. I have seen her give her last dollar multiple times to multiple people including children who didn't have enough to pay for things they were trying to get. She would always go out of her way to help others even if she didn't know you she would help. Her birthday was just the night before her accident. This all seems like a huge nightmare we can't wake up from. All we can do is pray for everyone involved. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason... Only God knows why. We just have to trust his process.

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