Gas station fatal case heard in court

September 15, 2009 4:44:02 AM PDT
A woman charged with running over an elderly woman at a gas station parking lot along Highway 55 in Coats, appeared in front of a judge Monday. Investigators said Amanda Culross was behind the wheel of a minivan when she hit and killed 75-year-old Jo Ann Bacon, who was pumping gas.

It happened at a Wilco-Hess gas station in Coats. The town is about an hour's drive south of Durham in Harnett County.

Police said Culross was drunk and her three kids, age's four to eight, were in the van.

They said the 30-year-old mother from Fuquay-Varina was backing out of a parking space at the gas station when she hit the retired teacher. Bacon died at the scene.

Click here for pictures from the scene

"We're grieving ? very much," Culross' father Rick Culross said.

Culross' father, overwhelmed by the tragedy, supported his daughter in court on Monday.

Culross' mother was also by her side as the judge read off a list of charges that included second degree murder and child abuse.

"We're not disagreeing with what we charged," Coats Police Chief Eddie Jaggers said. "We believe we charged appropriately."

Investigators said Culross smelled of alcohol, but blood and breathe test results are pending.

"I fully believe the alcohol was a factor in this accident and it is a terrible accident and when you have alcohol involved it makes it worse," Jaggers said.

According to Bacon's relatives it was a tragic accident, not murder.

They said they hung flowers in peace, not anger, knowing Culross tried to save Bacon, holding her hand after the crash.

Despite a prior DWI conviction from last year, her parents maintain their daughter wasn't driving drunk.

"We know once the facts are out there that it was an accident," Rick Culross said. "There's nothing we can do, but say we're sorry, grieve and we want to issue our prayers."

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