Local News

Driver With Revoked License Charged With Felony Hit And Run In Death Of 9-Year-Old

Posted April 15, 2003

— Every year in North Carolina, tens of thousands of people are stopped and charged with driving with a revoked license. They usually pay a fine and see no jail time.

More than 10 percent of fatal crashes in the state involve drivers with revoked licenses. A Chatham County family is trying to bring attention to this problem after the death of a 9-year-old boy.

On April 5, Martin Calderon was hit and killed in front of his aunt's home while riding his scooter.

"We tried CPR but there was nothing we could do," Joanne Bristow said.

Witnesses said a car was traveling in the opposite direction from where Martin and another boy was. They saw the car and tried to get off the road. The car apparently crossed the center line, hitting Martin and dragging him and the scooter. The car then left the road and left the scene of the accident.

"I heard my husband scream," Bristow said. "This man hit him and left. He never stopped, never slowed down, never let off the gas. He hit him and ran."

Officials charged Timothy Pendergrass, 32, with felony hit and run. He was driving without a license. Officials said it had been permanently revoked after a string of DWIs.

"In my opinion, I don't think people taking driving while revoked seriously," said Allen Baddour, assistant district attorney.

Baddour, who is prosecuting Pendergrass, said people rarely go to jail for driving with a revoked license.

"I mean if you are told you need to pay the court cost and fine and not drive anymore, that's the consequence. It's sort of the cost of doing business," he said. "You just keep driving and I'll just pay my fine if I get caught."

"If he didn't have a license there was a reason he didn't have a license. He should not have been on the road," Bristow said.

She believes if Pendergrass had not been on the road on April 5, her nephew would still be alive.

Pendergrass is scheduled to appear in court on May 29 after a grand jury examines the case.

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