CHARLOTTE, NC– Residents in Rowan County are saddened by the loss of a local high school teen and outraged by the charges against the woman responsible for hitting and killing him.
“How would you feel if you knew your child’s life was only worth $1,000?” It’s a question backed by anger for Rowan County resident Karen Smith after hearing the news that the person responsible for killing her neighbor, 17-year-old Makinzy Smith, is not in jail.
Barbara Harrison Smith, 57, (no relation) is out of jail on bond. Troopers say she drove around a school bus’s flashing stop arm Thursday morning and hit Makinzy.
Investigators say the teen was crossing Woodleaf Road to get to his school bus. Smith is charged with Felony Passing a Stopped School Bus Causing Death.
“Doesn’t say a whole lot for the law system around here… to me, that’s Death-by-Vehicle,” says Karen Smith.
While community members question the charges and await answers, Makinzy’s friends and schoolmates remember a friend that enjoyed writing, 50’s music, and spending time outdoors.
A bill that increases the penalties for accidents involving school busses takes effect December 1st.
Drivers caught passing a stopped school bus face a misdemeanor charge with a $500 fine. For drivers who fail to stop and hit a child, it’ll be a felony with a $2,500 fine. And if a child dies a result, the fine jumps to $5,000.