Man accused of DWI in wrong-way crash that killed 80-year-old woman in Winston-Salem was in US illegally


Martinez Lemus

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A man accused of driving while impaired in a wrong-way crash that killed an 80-year-old woman in Winston-Salem was in the country illegally, according to police.

Martinez Lemus, 28, faces charges in connection to the death of Jean Lawrence High.

At about 10:40 p.m. on June 15, police received reports of a vehicle traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 52.

Police said an officer, with an unrelated arrestee in his vehicle, was nearly struck by the car while traveling southbound on the highway.

The car, a 2004 Nissan driven by Lemus, then hit a 2012 Toyota which had three people inside.

The driver of the Toyota, 56-year-old David Leonard Stafford, and two passengers, Jean High and Jeri High Stafford, were all injured in the crash.

In addition, Lemus was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with serious injuries. Police say he was impaired when the crash happened.

With High’s death, police have upgraded charges against Lemus. He is now charged with felony death by motor vehicle. He previously was charged with felony serious injury by vehicle, driving while impaired, driving without a license, careless and reckless driving, and traveling the wrong way on a highway.

Lemus is being held at the Forsyth County jail under a $200,000 bond.

Police said Lemus did not have an American driver’s license on him and did not have a passport. They added that he did have a Salvadorian ID.

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