Woman charged in DWI death of child in Lexington goes down

The woman charged in the hit-and-run death of an 8-year-old child after she struck a DOT truck on Fairview Drive in Lexington on June 21 has had her bond reduced by a Davidson County judge.

Amber Brooke Whitaker, 35, of Lexington was charged with felony death by vehicle, felony serious injury by vehicle and felony driving while impaired after a crash that killed one juvenile and seriously injured another.

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At the time those charges were filed, Whitaker was set on a $500,000 secured bond, but after a bond hearing in Davidson County Circuit Court on Aug. 29, her bond was reduced to $75,000 secured bond.

According to Davidson County District Attorney Gary Frank, Whittaker’s attorney filed a bail motion with the court to reconsider the pretrial release requirements. He said the judge “used his discretion” to lower the bond after deciding Whitaker, who has remained in custody, was not a flight risk, which is the main purpose of setting bonds.

Bail—also referred to as bail bond—is the amount of money someone must pay to be released from jail under promises to pay back all court cases related to criminal charges. Bail is usually about 10% of the total bail amount set by the court. When this amount is set, the defendant may post bail in cash, property or surety.

If someone pays bail and the person appears in court and meets all of the judge’s requirements, then bail is returned minus any court-ordered fees.

More: Driver in Lexington DWI crash that killed 8-year-old, injured three others faces additional charges

Whitaker has a pending court case on felony death by vehicle and other charges on Oct. 11.

According to the Lexington Police Department, at approximately 10 a.m. on June 21, officers responded to a traffic accident on Fairview Drive near Fairway Drive.

Upon arrival, law enforcement observed that a 2010 Pontiac G6 had struck the rear of a North Carolina Department of Transportation truck that had stopped to remove storm debris. NCDOT crews had one lane of traffic blocked, but were using flashing warning lights on their vehicles and a slow/stop signal to direct traffic to the work zone.

As a result of the accident, four minors, aged between 3 and 15, were seriously injured. The passenger in the NCDOT truck was not injured.

On June 23, staff at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem reported that the 8-year-old victim, Jayden Rose Smith, died from her injuries.

The 3-year-old victim remains hospitalized with serious spinal injuries and is reported to be paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without assistance.

The other two children in the vehicle were not seriously injured in the accident.

Lexington police said two of the victims, ages 3 and 4, were the driver’s children. Whittaker was caring for the other two victims who were the children of a friend.

Initially, Whitaker was charged only with driving while impaired before additional charges of death by vehicle and serious injury by vehicle a week later.

More: Driver killed in head-on collision with NCDOT dump truck on Highway 109 in Davidson County

During the investigation by law enforcement, it was determined that Whitaker contributed to the accident by failing to reduce speed and by careless and reckless driving.

According to an arrest warrant issued by the Davidson County Coroner’s Office, Whitaker had methadone in her system and was “visibly shaking her head” and “leaning on things to keep her balance” while being questioned. She was also in possession of prescription drugs.

The arrest warrant also included a witness statement saying Whitaker “almost ran over a pedestrian” and failed to stop at a stop sign before the crash.

General news reporter Sharon Myers can be reached at sharon.myers@the-dispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @LexDispatchSM.

This article originally appeared in The Dispatch: Woman charged with DWI in Lexington child death gets bond reduced

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