Car may have been on way to hospital at time of accident

Jul. 17, 2014 @ 05:08 PM

The Lenoir woman whose speeding car slammed into another car Wednesday evening in Gamewell, killing her, her 4-year-old son and her grandmother, may have been desperately trying to get to Caldwell Memorial Hospital, an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper said.

Sabrina Handy, 29, of 209 Wilson St. in Lenoir and her son, Carson, had just picked up her grandmother, Carolyn Handy, 75, from the hospital, where she had been treated for pneumonia, Sgt. Derek Dawson said. Handy was driving the 2007 Kia Spectra on Morganton Boulevard on the way to the Morganton home of her mother, Rhonda Handy Mitchell, about 5:45 p.m. when she turned the car around and began driving back toward Lenoir at a high rate of speed -- witnesses estimated she was going 80 miles per hour -- and in a very aggressive manner, Dawson said.

Her grandmother, was in the front passenger seat, and her son, Carson, was in the left side of the back seat.

Troopers investigating the wreck believe Carolyn Handy may have had a medical problem, and Sabrina Handy was trying to get her back to the hospital, Dawson said.

"We suspect, based on her erratic driving, that Carolyn was having issues and became distressed," Dawson said. "Two witnesses said they saw the car go into the turn lane and swerve into the eastbound lane. Several cars swerved out of her way before striking the Lexus."

The collision with the Lexus, which was going west, spun both vehicles around, and the Lexus came to rest in the center turn lane while the Kia left the road and flipped down an embankment near the Gamewell Fire and Rescue Department, Dawson said. Carson, who was in the back seat of the car, was partially ejected from the car and crushed when the car rolled on top of him.

The driver of the Lexus was Geralene Patterson, 66, of Lenoir, and her passenger was Adrienne Campbell, 57, of New York. Patterson and Campbell were taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Patterson, who suffered cuts on her hands, was listed in good condition Thursday. Campbell, who suffered two broken legs, a broken arm and a broken hand, was taken to North Carolina Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and had surgery on her legs Thursday, said Penny Patterson, Geralene Patterson's sister-in-law.

Geralene Patterson and her son, Aaron Patterson Jr., are co-pastors of Christ Church of Lenoir, which is not far from the crash site. Geralene Patterson and Campbell were on their way to a church service when the accident occurred.