NC brothers charged in death of pregnant woman

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Michael Todd Whitener, 26, and Tyler Lloyd Whitener Jr., 22, both of Maiden

LENOIR, N.C. — Two North Carolina brothers have been charged with causing the death of a 27-year-old pregnant woman who died in a car wreck.

The News-Topic of Lenoir reported that Tyler Lloyd Whitener Jr., 22, and Michael Todd Whitener, 26, both of Maiden, were charged in the death of 27-year-old Ashley Daniele Watson.

Authorities said the brothers were driving separate vehicles on U.S. 321 in Gastonia on July 18, each hauling a trailer carrying equipment for their tree-cutting business.

The state Highway Patrol said Watson couldn’t see Tyler Whitener’s trailer until she nearly ran into it. Tyler Whitener’s lights were out at night and he was driving considerably slower than the speed limit, authorities said.

Officials said when she swerved to avoid the trailer, her pickup ran into Michael Whitener’s trailer.

Watson’s 6-year-old daughter and 11-year-old niece in the truck with her were uninjured. Watson was nine weeks pregnant.

The two brothers were charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter. Michael Whitener was held on a $50,000 secured bond and Tyler Whitener Jr. was placed on a $100,000 secured bond, according to the Gaston Gazette.

Sources: The News-Topic of Lenoir and The Gaston Gazette