Teen Driver Charged in Deadly Wreck, Victim's Family Speaks Out

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by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty by Photographer Adam Stevens

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 18-year-old Sydney McDaniel is behind bars, charged with reckless driving, driving after consuming under 21 years old, fictitious tag on vehicle, possession of marijuana, child neglect and involuntary manslaughter.

15-year-old Martha Rosales was in the car with McDaniel and died.  Police say McDaniel lost control of her 1991 Honda Accord on Pence Road and hit a tree Wednesday night.  McDaniel's 11-month-old baby was also in the car.  He was seriously hurt in the accident and taken to the hospital.  18-year-old Toni Williams, another passenger, survived with minor injuries.

"That scene, when they told me my sister was gone, I screamed in total anger," Diego Rosales says through tears.  He says this of McDaniel: "C'mon, you have a kid, you don't have time to have fun.  You have to focus on your kid and to better yourself."

"I told actually Martha, watch when you hang around [her]," says friend Darrius Short.  He says Rosales probably got into the car with McDaniel to try to protect her.  "To make sure something like that doesn't happen.  When you're in the back seat, you can't see what's going on."

Rosales, an honor roll student, will be remembered by friends and family as a sweet girl who loved to cook and loved animals.  Her brother has a message for other families.  He says, "You gotta protect them with everything you can, cause you can lose them in any second."

All three teens attended Rocky River High School.  CMS will have guidance counselors on hand to talk with students or staff who need support when they return from spring break on Monday.  Rosales' funeral is Sunday at Carolina Funeral Service on Monroe Road.  Visitation is 5 to 7 PM and a prayer service will follow.

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