Guilty plea in I-440 wrong-way crash

Sarah Aimee Carden appears in court January 11

January 11, 2013 11:41:22 AM PST
The woman responsible for a wrong-way crash on the Raleigh Beltline that left a man dead and his passenger hurt appeared in a Wake County courtroom Friday to plead guilty to several charges, including felony death by motor vehicle.

Aimee Carden was sentenced to 25 months in prison and 5 years probation.

Prosecutors said Carden was drunk and high on cocaine and marijuana in June when she got on I-440 heading the wrong way in the westbound lanes around 4:20 a.m. Between Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street, she came up on a vehicle driven by 30-year-old Tshimpangil Bajani.

Trying to avoid her, Bajani ran off the roadway, overcorrected and overturned. His vehicle flipped several times, before crossing over the guardrail.

Bajani was killed, while his passenger, 25-year-old Adrina Angelica Moore, suffered serious injuries.

Investigators say Carden kept going and dodged troopers for 6 miles - until she was stopped.

In court Friday, prosecutor Jason Waller showed a video of Carden after she was stopped.

"She had, what you can see on the video, is just a complete blank stare on her face. It was almost like she was a zombie. She would not interact with Trooper Ellison or the other Raleigh officers that were there. She was just in a daze," he said.

Bajani's passenger was also in court Friday. She made a statement through her father.

"As I was trapped by my own seatbelt, petrified, horrified, and panicked. I struggled to help him but could not move. Finally, I got out of my seatbelt and fell on him because the car was on its side. I could still hear the noise he made to this very day," read Guilford Moore.

Carden cried throughout the hearing.

Along with her prison and probation sentence, the judge ordered Carden to spend every anniversary date of the accident in jail while she is on probation.

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