Police charge mother of child blamed for wreck

Winona Simons

July 1, 2011 3:07:08 PM PDT
The mother of a 15-year-old unlicensed driver, who police say caused a five-car crash in Fayetteville Wednesday, is offering an apology.

The woman says she knew her daughter wasn't supposed to drive but she had a good reason.

"I didn't think it would be a problem," Winona Simmons said.

Simmons says she knew it was wrong but she really needed her daughter.

"My health wasn't well, [and] I asked her to go get some medicine and food and it was right down the street -- end of the street, and I thought everything would be fine," Simmons continued.

Police say the 15-year-old caused the wreck on Yadkin Road. Because she's 15, police won't identify the teen and her mother asked that ABC11 Eyewitness News not use her daughter's name.

Officers say the teen turned in front of oncoming traffic, setting off the chain reaction wrecks. Fort Bragg soldier Medina Yordan was driving a motorcycle and was critically injured.

Investigators say the girl had no business being behind the wheel.

The initial crash report is complete, and it clearly shows Simmons' daughter didn't yield the right of way.

Police charged Simmons Friday with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to a statement released by the Fayetteville Police Department, "Simmons knowingly allowed her daughter to operate a vehicle without a driver's license."

She was held under a $2,500 bond.

Simmons apologized Thursday to everyone her daughter hurt.

"My heart just goes out," she said. "I apologize so much. I know at this point never to let her drive alone. Parents don't always make the right decision."

Tracey McNeill wasn't hurt but her car was damaged in the pileup. She forgives Simmons and her daughter but doesn't excuse their responsibility.

"Cause I have a 17-year-old, and I don't give her the keys to my car," McNeill added. "I mean, if I have to go to the store, I will go myself."

It may take a judge to decide who is at fault.

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