Local News

Victim's mom upset woman charged in DWI crash is out of jail

Posted October 15, 2014 6:27 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2014 12:29 p.m. EDT

— The mother of a boy seriously injured last week when a drunken driver hit him and killed his best friend says she's upset that the driver is out of jail.

Pauline Sue Champion, 46, was charged with reckless driving, driving while impaired and death by motor vehicle in the Oct. 7 wreck that killed Cornell Hester Jr., 18, and left Crystal Neale's 15-year-old son, Charles, with a traumatic brain injury.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Champion was headed west on Burnside Road in Henderson when she lost control of her vehicle, crossed the center line and hit Hester and Charles Neale, who were walking to Hester's home.

Champion was later released on a $75,000 bond.

Crystal Neale said Wednesday that she is frustrated that bond in the case wasn't higher.

"In order to curb this type of action, there needs to be higher penalties for it," she said.

Neale said she and her husband met with an attorney Wednesday to explore legal options in the situation.

Vance County District Attorney Samuel Currin said Wednesday that prosecutors did ask for a bond increase but that it was denied.

"I have to say, the bond that was set is perfectly in line with the guidelines in our district," Currin said.

Meanwhile Wednesday, friends and family said goodbye to Hester at a funeral held at West Vance High School, where he attended.

Neale said it's not fair.

"(Champion)'s back out at her house while me and my husband stay at the hospital every day (with our son), and (Hester's family) had to bury their son," she said.

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