Local News

Roseboro man charged with DWI in child's hit-and-run death

Posted April 23, 2013
Updated April 25, 2013

— A Sampson County truck driver was charged with driving while impaired, involuntary manslaughter and several other charges Wednesday in the hit-and-run death of a 7-year-old girl at a bus stop Tuesday afternoon.

Johnny Allen Spell, 37, of 192 Bud Spell Lane in Roseboro, also faces charges of felony passing a stopped school bus, felony hit and run and driving while impaired while operating a commercial motor vehicle, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.

It's unclear whether Spell was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A co-worker said Spell was on his way to a paper mill when the wreck happened.

Investigators said he was driving a logging truck Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 421 near Herring Road in the town of Harrells, when he passed a stopped school bus around 3:45 p.m., hit Alyiah McKenzie Morgan and kept driving.

"She didn't deserve to be run down in front of her own home," Morgan's aunt, Rosabell Martinez, said. "She was so excited to get off the bus."

Morgan, a first-grader at Union Elementary School, died while on her way to Sampson Regional Medical Center in Clinton, troopers said.

Alyiah Morgan 7-year-old killed at bus stop in hit and run

Spell, who works for Roseboro-based Lucas Ricky Trucking, and the truck were located several hours later near Autryville, about 30 miles away from the crash.

He was in the Sampson County jail under a $200,000 bond Wednesday morning.

According to court records, Spell has multiple drug convictions dating back a decade, along with a DWI conviction in 2008. He has also been arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, along with ingredients for methamphetamine.

Last week, he was arrested for driving without an operator's license.

It's unclear why he was allowed to drive the truck. The owner of Ricky Lucas Trucking could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the company has been in business since 2009.

In the past 24 months, three trucks were placed out of service following inspections. The company's 23 percent out-of-service rate is above the national average.

The out-of-service rate for drivers is also above the national average. In 14 highway inspections, one driver was pulled off the road. More detailed information about the driver wasn't immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

For the past year, Ricky Lucas Trucking has been flagged by federal officials for having too many vehicle maintenance problems.

It's unclear how, with the violations, the company has been able to continue to operate.

The government is also supposed to do on-site safety audits every two years on trucking companies, but, according to records, there have been none on Ricky Lucas Trucking since 2009.


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  • shutterbug Apr 25, 2013

    He was somehow able to get a valid CDL after his arrest last week. From the Fayetteville Observer: "This month, Spell was charged with misdemeanor larceny and misdemeanor possession of stolen goods. On April 17, the Highway Patrol stopped him while he was driving a truck and cited him for driving without a valid license.

    After he was cited, Spell obtained a commercial truck driving license, which was valid during the accident, according to the Highway Patrol."

  • LovemyPirates Apr 25, 2013

    School bus drivers will tell you people pass illegally all the time. It's a daily occurrence.

  • feistyredhead2001 Apr 25, 2013

    The heavens now have another beautiful angel, however... this should have never happened. I can not imagine how he will live with his self knowing what he did. Good bless her and pray for her family.

  • Bec0522 Apr 25, 2013

    what a beautiful little girl. Thinking of the family...

  • mojaintsmall Apr 24, 2013

    Accidents like this bring back memories for any that were ever affected by somebody getting runt over.

  • Kaitlyn Apr 24, 2013

    "@ kaitlyn This is a straight road for miles and miles. There is no way he could of missed the bus." - magon1162

    yes, that is what I said. And furthermore if they were both going in the same direction as it said in the article he would have seen it slow down with the abmers on before it stopped, and had plenty of time to stop himself. If he wanted to...

  • lobgill7 Apr 24, 2013

    This is truly sad. And all because of the sin of being a drunkard. Yet the ads for beer make it look like it is so much fun. Can hardly wait to see how the upcoming health care rationing will handle all of the alcoholics who are destroying not only their own lives, but the life of this young girl and the people that love her dearly.

  • Iwasasoldier4u Apr 24, 2013

    In jail, that is where he needs to stay, as far as I am concerned he should stay there for the same amount of time this sweet little girl is dead.

  • kimisufu Apr 24, 2013

    What a precious little girl :(

  • magon1162 Apr 24, 2013

    @ stumpy

    It was a log truck.