On Tuesday (November 23rd) at approximately 5:30 PM, Trooper K.L. Huss was on stationary patrol in Catawba County on US 321 near mile marker 35 and clocked a northbound 2020 Dodge Charger traveling over 100 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone. Moments later, another trooper observed the same vehicle in excess of 130 mph as it was weaving through traffic. As Trooper Huss attempted to overtake the vehicle near mile marker 40, he came upon a cloud of dust and debris. Trooper Huss quickly realized the vehicle had lost control, ran off the road to the right, crashed through a guardrail, went down an embankment, collided with a tree, and had begun to catch fire.
Trooper Huss immediately ran down the embankment, determined the driver was unconscious or possibly deceased while discovering a small child and woman were trapped in the wreckage and screaming for help. Trooper Huss freed the child from the mangled car and handed the child to a bystander who assisted in moving the boy to a safer area. The car was smoking heavily. Without regard for his safety, Trooper Huss returned, crawled into the car, cut the woman free, and pulled her into the rear of the car. As he pulled her out the back window and to safety, the car became engulfed in flames. Trooper Huss was unable to remove the driver.
The driver, Andre Darrell Lee, 27, of Grover, South Carolina (southeastern SC, Dorchester County), succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The 5-year-old child and 23-year-old female were transported by EMS to Catawba Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The child was later transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem for observation.
The initial investigation indicates the driver may have been attempting to flee due to illegal contraband in the vehicle.