The Wilkesboro Police Department charged a woman with misdemeanor death by vehicle in connection with a fatality that occurred Jan. 23 at a car wash.
Kala Duckworth Huffman, 38, of Fish Dam Creek Road, Millers Creek, was charged later last week as a result of the death of Karl Warren Hunsberger, 62, of Acorn Avenue, Wilkesboro. Huffman wasn’t arrested and isn’t in custody.
Hunsberger was wiping down his car in an outdoor vacuum area of Rocket Wash at 1834 U.S. 421 West when he was struck by a 2020 Ford car driven by Huffman, said Wilkesboro Police Chief Tommy Rhodes. The victim’s back was facing the oncoming car so Hunsberger didn’t see it coming, said Rhodes.
Wilkesboro Officer K.J. Gambill reported that the Ford was exiting the brush wash portion of Rocket Wash and making a right turn into the car wash parking area when it accelerated and hit the left rear quarter of a 2022 Toyota driven by James Franklin Morrison, 45, of Statesville.
Gambill said the Ford continued making the right turn and hit Hunsberger and Hunsberger’s parked 2022 Hyundai at the same time.
Wilkesboro Police Capt. Jason Delbert said that by unintentionally causing the death of another person while committing a traffic violation, Huffman’s actions fit the statutory requirements for misdemeanor death by vehicle. He said the traffic violation was failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
Delbert said video recorded by the car wash security camera doesn’t show the Ford’s brake lights being activated and there is no other indication that the car slowed before hitting Hunsberger.
Delbert said that although Huffman stated that she thought she applied the brakes, “she evidently hit the gas.” He noted that because the Ford’s airbags weren’t deployed, the car’s electronic data recorder wasn’t activated.
Hunsberger was the only person injured in the incident, which occurred about 12:30 p.m. Jan. 23. Huffman’s car and Hunsberger’s car both received about $20,000 in damage, while Morrison’s car had about $5,000 in damage, said Gambill.
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