Local News

Rocky Mount Mother Recounts Harrowing Driving Experience

Posted December 14, 2001

— A Rocky Mount family is glad to still be alive after a harrowing driving experience.

Samantha Cheatham was leaving her home in Rocky Mount on Highway 64 and heading towards Tarboro to drop her children off at her mother's house, but when she looked in her rearview mirror, she got the shock of her life.

"About the time I looked up in the mirror, I saw a white blur and we were hit," said Cheatham.

Her car's rear bumper had locked with another car's front bumper, and both cars were speeding down the road as fast as 75 miles per hour, unable to stop.

"I was not crying, but I was hysterical. Everything I said came out screaming," she said. "I was telling my child, 'It's OK. We're not going to die. Sit down.' I was praying at the same time, 'Oh God, don't let us die.'"

Tarboro police officer Bruce Edwards was following both cars, but he could not do anything.

"I've never seen anybody being pushed like that. She was being pushed so fast that she was riding her brakes," he said.

Cheatham's quick thinking finally ended the harrowing experience.

"I got as slow as I could, which was 45 miles per hour, and I just snatched the van," she said. "We hit the median and when we hit, it was a big dip and his car [became] disconnected."

Police said David Earl, 84, hit Cheatham's van. Police say he was disoriented and did not even know where he was when the accident happened.

So far, Tarboro police have only charged him with a misdemeanor. No one was hurt in the incident.


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