SHELBY, N.C. – Police have charged a man with murder after he allegedly caused a wreck that killed two people in downtown Shelby as he fled police.
WSOC-TV reported that an officer monitoring traffic saw 34-year-old Demetrist Lendell Roberts speed past around 1 p.m. Saturday.
The officer reportedly tried to stop the suspect but he kept driving, which led to a pursuit. The officer called off the chase because of heavy traffic, according to WSOC-TV.
Shortly afterward, Roberts allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Marion and Lafayette streets, hitting a 2007 Ford Taurus that was traveling southbound on the passenger door.
“I saw the spinning car come around the corner first, then there was a large boom like an explosion it sounded like a bomb went off,” a witness said.
Another witness said, “You could feel it all thorugh your body it was so loud.”
Two occupants inside the Taurus died at the scene. A third occupant, a young boy, was ejected from the car and airlifted to at least two hospitals. He was listed in critical condition Saturday night.
The two people killed in the crash were the boy’s relatives, according to officials.
Witnesses said their thoughts and prayers are with the boy.
“It was very bad and I don’t know if that little boy that got hit is OK or not,” one witness said.
Names of victims have not been released pending notification of next of kin.
Roberts was also charged with felony speed to elude arrest, driving while license revoked and speeding.
He is being held at the Cleveland County Detention Center without bond. The investigation is ongoing.
Roberts has been arrested five times in Cleveland County over the last 14 years.
The charges include possessing stolen goods, DWI and speeding to elude arrest. His last arrest was in 2008.