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Smithfield Walmart crash victim says driver's charge is 'too harsh'

Posted October 12, 2011

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— One of the pedestrians injured in a Smithfield wreck that killed a woman in the Walmart parking lot earlier this month said Wednesday that she thinks the charge against the 95-year-old driver is "too harsh."

Jeanna Hawley, 35, of Smithfield, said she isn't angry at Benjamin Moye, who was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. If convicted, he faces a fine, up to 120 days in jail and a mandatory revocation of his license for one year.

Hawley said she would have been satisfied without the charges if Moye's license had just been revoked.

"I don't think a jury in their right mind would put him behind bars, but as far as I'm concerned, I think that's too harsh," she said. "Just keep him off the road."

Investigators said Moye struck Hawley, her mother, Debra Holmes, 53, and her grandmother's friend, Lois Shannon, 73, in the crosswalk while he was looking for a parking space outside the store on Oct. 1. Moye said he had stopped there to buy milk and that his foot slipped off the brake. 

Jeanna Hawley Woman hit by car at Smithfield Walmart tells story

All three women were taken to Johnston County Memorial Hospital, where Shannon later died.

Hawley suffered multiple fractures to her left leg, torn muscles and ligaments in her right leg and open wounds from road rash. She said she remembers hitting the ground face first and having both sets of tires run over her and her mother.

"I heard an engine, so I turned around and saw the truck. It looked like it was slowing down, so I wasn't thinking anything of it. Before I could even turn back all the way around, I heard the engine rev up, and then it hit us," Hawley said. "Lois was in reach so it went through my mind to push her, but, before I knew it, the thing was laying on top of us."

She said she continues to have nightmares and flashbacks of the wreck.

Hawley's grandmother was with the women, but wasn't hit by Moye's truck.

"My grandmother, as soon as it happened, she walked straight over to (Moye) because he looked like he was in shock," Hawley said. "She told him there's no animosity toward him from us and we knew it was an accident."

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  • saywhaaaaat Oct 14, 2011

    I feel for everyone in this story. Hope everyone can get through this.

  • dkwall911 Oct 13, 2011

    I hope that age 95, if I am lucky enough to live that long, the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicle will make that decision for me since I may not be capable of making that decision on my on. I think you have hit the nail on the head that no one wants to give it up and the state will not make the right decision on everyone's behalf. My grandmother had not driven in 25 years but was able to renew her license at 85. She only had to be able to see the signs for the test. I love my grandmother and the elderly, but I see this as a real problem.

  • storchheim Oct 13, 2011

    And to your other side, ladies and gentlemen, we have a thread about a road-rage accident in VA where someone died horribly! Read, if you will, all the furious comments from those who think that everyone drives too slowly and should move over for them! See if you can see any of the same names here, claiming there should be no age limits on driving because THEY might not want to give up the keys at 95!

    (cue circus music)

  • dkwall911 Oct 13, 2011

    Fausnaught - I agree with you completely. Based on my earlier post, some would probably think I am a kid with a bad attitude. In reality, I am 47 with 26 years as a professional firefighter. I am really afraid that since we have 60+ making the laws that what you are suggesting will never happen. Scares me....

  • fausnaught Oct 13, 2011

    Whether stated or implied the pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way.. because if you hit them- you will be charged with assault or worse. I feel for the victims and the man who hit them. I hope he doesn't get jail time, but I pray they take his license. Think I am going to have a heart-to-heart with my parents (in their 80's) After the age of 60, yearly driving tests should be MANDATORY.

  • dkwall911 Oct 13, 2011

    I feel for this elderly gentleman in this case. BUT, until we pass laws that make sure the elderly are still capable of driving in their later years this will continue to happen. I am in the emergency service field and I can tell you that elderly drivers cause a lot more accidents than 16 year old drivers. They might not be the ones charged in the accident, but when you stop to check out something in a 65 mph speed zone and someone hits you in the rear.....who was really at fault? Maybe we need to start electing 16 year olds to office and then they want be the ones always getting the bad rap.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 13, 2011

    "Common sense, did you not see my earlier post?

    http://www.ncdot.org/bikeped/download/bikeped_laws_Ped_Laws.pdf

    "32) Public Vehicular Area. – Any area within the State of North Carolina that is generally open to and used by the public for vehicular traffic, including by way of illustration and not limitation any drive, driveway, road, roadway, street, alley, or parking lot upon the grounds and premises of:""

    Bill, you did not post anything that proved pedestrians have the right of way in parking lots. All you did was post the definition of a public vehicular area. "20-4.01. Definitions.
    Unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply throughout this
    Chapter to the defined words and phrases and their cognates:"

    Fail again.

  • jellybeanz Oct 13, 2011

    If his foot only slipped off of the brake why does she remember hearing the engine rev?

  • beachgal Oct 13, 2011

    wisebear said, " A person whos foot slips off a pedal... and accident! Ther is a huge difference!!!" How many times has your foot slipped off the brake hard enough to press the gas enough to kill someone? For me, never. For someone who doesn't have control of their reflexes?? I don't know.

  • Bill Brasky Oct 13, 2011

    Common sense, did you not see my earlier post?

    http://www.ncdot.org/bikeped/download/bikeped_laws_Ped_Laws.pdf

    "32) Public Vehicular Area. – Any area within the State of North Carolina that is generally open to and used by the public for vehicular traffic, including by way of illustration and not limitation any drive, driveway, road, roadway, street, alley, or parking lot upon the grounds and premises of:"

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