Local News

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

Posted October 12, 2011 8:11 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2011 11:11 p.m. EDT

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Hawley said she would have been satisfied without the charges if Moye's license had just been revoked.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

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."