Girl, 4, dies after tractor overturns, man charged with DWI

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Leala Hardy

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — A four-year-old girl is dead, and a man is charged with DWI after a farm tractor overturned Monday in Davidson County.

Leala Hardy died and John William Patterson, 50, was injured in the wreck shortly after 4 p.m. along Albeck Drive west of Thomasville.

Both were on the John Deere tractor when it ran off the left side of the road, overturned and ended up in an embankment, troopers said. Both were pinned underneath the tractor when troopers arrived, said Trooper Jay Miles.

Hardy, the granddaughter of Patterson’s girlfriend, was taken to Thomasville Medical Center, where she died. Patterson was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to be treated for non life-threatening injuries.

Miles said Patterson has been charged with DWI, and troopers are waiting on results from the SBI to determine his blood alcohol level. Troopers have not said whether or not speed played a role in the crash.

“There’s no word to describe it, especially those that have children the same age. I have a four-year-old at home, and it really takes a toll on you,” Miles said.

Patterson could face more charges as the investigation continues, Miles said.