Local News

Charges Against Harnett Ambulance Driver Dismissed

Posted September 5, 2001

— An ambulance worker who was involved in an automobile accident that killed his patient was supposed to go on trial Wednesday, but after several delays, the case was tossed out.

Bill Watts Jr. was driving an ambulance when it crashed into a tractor-trailer in January 2000, killing Nancy McKinley, 84. McKinley was a patient in the ambulance.

Police claim Watts turned on the lights and siren of the ambulance while he was driving through a red light in Dunn, but he did not make sure that the intersection was clear.

After months of continuances, the assistant district attorney asked a judge to dismiss the charges against Watts because a number of witnesses have not appeared in court.

Gerald Hayes, Watts' attorney, said he was surprised by the assistant district attorney's decision.

"The state apparently did not have sufficient evidence to go forward with the case and thought they could not convict him, so they took a dismissal rather than trying the case and having a not guilty verdict be entered," he said.

However, the assistant district attorney said she will re-charge Watts for the incident. She said she plans to try the case when all of the witnesses show up in court.

The assistant district also said she thought about asking for another continuance Wednesday, but she thought the judge would not allow it since there have been a half-dozen already.

A new trial would not be considered a case of double jeopardy since the previous trial did not take place.


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