CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Just minutes into the New Year, tragedy struck for a Charlotte family.
Now, nearly a year later, the family of Cynia Wright is calling for more accountability after the man convicted in connection with their daughter’s death is already out of jail.
At 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2020, 23-year-old Cynia Wright was killed when the car she was riding in crashed into the back of a parked police car.
The driver, Kevin Whitlock Jr., was drunk and speeding, according to police, along I-85 S near Sugar Creek Road.
A CMPD patrol car was parked in the left lane, with its lights flashing, while the officer helped direct traffic. Whitlock, according to investigators, crashed into the squad car.
Wright, who was in the car along with her cousin, died at the scene.
“They saw the lights. That’s why they were telling (Whitlock) to slow down. They could see the lights ahead,” said Hugh Wright, Cynia’s father. “And he didn’t try to slow down. He drove right through the situation and hit the cop’s car.”
Whitlock was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Last week, a judge sentenced him to time already served and three years of probation.
“Even though the sentencing guidelines were six months to whatever, he got the low end,” Wright said. “He checked all the boxes to get the high end or mid-range. But nothing. He didn’t get none of that.”
Wright, who no longer lives in Charlotte, was in the courtroom for the sentencing.
“I asked him in the courtroom to look me in the eyes and just explain to me what was going through his head that night,” said Wright. “He refused to do it. He wouldn’t even look at me. Just look down.”
A CMPD officer was also hurt during the crash.
Wright’s family is hoping that their daughter’s death will serve as a wake-up call to the criminal justice system.
“I’m just letting other parents know to grab ahold of their kids. Because it could happen to you.”