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Lawrence Egerton
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Arrest made in hit-and-run that killed horse, injured two riders

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Timothy George Hardin has been arrested on suspicion of being the driver in the hit-and-run accident that severely injured Carlee Shay Jones and James Cody Burke and killed Jones’s horse near Cherryville, North Carolina, on Sunday, January 30, 2011.

Hardin, 46, of Bessemer City, was charged on Monday with two counts of felony hit and run, a misdemeanor hit and run, and driving with a revoked license. Burke, age 24, of Cherryville, and Jones, 22, of Gastonia, were in intensive care with head injuries and listed in fair condition Monday afternoon, according to the Shelby Star.

As I pointed out in a blog yesterday, the circumstances of this incident suggest there were factors that could have contributed to why the driver fled the scene. One reason I listed for why a driver may panic and run after a crash is that he or she was driving with a revoked license.

The wreck took place at 1:43 a.m. on Hepzibah Church Road, near its intersection with Whitesides Road. After a trip to Wal-Mart, Burke and Jones were riding her horse, “Leo,” back to the barn where she boarded him. They had stopped to talk to a friend who was driving by in a Ford Mustang, according to N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Frank O’Dell.

A vehicle driving east struck the horse, killing him and throwing Burke and Jones onto the pavement. The vehicle also swiped the back left side of the friend’s car.

When paramedics with Gaston Emergency Medical Services arrived, Burke and Jones were lying in the road. One witness, who went to the scene after hearing “a loud boom,” said Carlee had been going in and out of consciousness.

Hardin, who was being held in the Gaston County Jail on a $20,000 bond, reportedly told the Highway Patrol he thought he had hit a deer.

The impact of a car striking a deer would be significantly less violent than striking a 10-year-old Quarter Horse, which is the horse involved in this incident. Such a horse would weigh at least 1,000 pounds and likely more, and stand from 14.3 to 16 hands high. That translates to 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 4 inches tall – at the top of the shoulders, the withers.

A buck white-tail deer over 200 pounds and 3 feet tall at the shoulders would be considered a very big deer in this region.

Remember, a witness heard “a loud boom" from the impact. Not what you usually hear when someone hits a deer.

It was not reported whether Hardin recalled any collision with a car.

Families of both victims are trying to remain optimistic, said Jones’s sister, Amber Jones Gladden. Carlee Jones works as a nursing assistant at Morningside assisted living center in Gastonia, and is a graduate of Forestview High School, Gladden said, and Burke graduated from Cherryville High School.

Media links:

Photos of Carlee Jones with her horse, Leo; James Cody Burke, Timothy Hardin (wbtv.com)

Further details and background (The Shelby Star)

After an accident it is wise to consult an attorney. You can find more information about our firm, Egerton & Associates, at our website, http://www.egertonlaw.com/. If you have questions about legal issues in this article or in your own personal injury suffered in a wreck, call me directly for help – Lawrence Egerton, 336-273-0508, or 800-800-4LAW, or e-mail me at le@egertonlaw.com.

You will always talk to an attorney the first time you call.