CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - A woman who was hit and killed when a vehicle ran off the road in Concord reportedly saw the vehicle and warned her husband to get out of the way.
Troopers say 74-year-old Evelyn Tarlton was gardening in her yard when a vehicle ran off the road along Highway 200 near Vanderburg Drive Wednesday afternoon and hit her. She was pronounced dead when emergency officials arrived at the scene.
The driver of the vehicle was transported to the hospital to be treated. Investigators aren't sure what caused the driver to lose control of the car, saying there was no indication he was impaired.
Highway 200 was shut down as investigators looked into the crash.
Fran Duggan came home to highway patrol investigators in her neighbor's yard and cried when she learned Tarlton had been killed.
"My friend for 23 years," Duggan said. She said she saw her longtime friend earlier in the day, but never thought it would be the last time the two would speak.
"Every day when I come out and look at the house, I'm going to think of her, and that she's not there," said Duggan.
Mulch and spray were left behind where the 74-year-old worked in her garden with her husband Wednesday afternoon.
Tarlton loved to work in her garden, Duggan said. One of her favorite hobbies came to an unthinkable halt when an SUV came barreling through the front yard.
Troopers say Tarlton warned her other half, but was unable to get out of the way herself.
"From what he initially said, she saw the car coming and he was able to get out of the way and he thought she was coming behind him, but apparently she may have gone in another direction when she was struck, but she initially saw the vehicle and told him to get out of the way," said North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper A.L. Green.
Green said he believes Tarlton's warning saved her husband's life.
According to Duggan, the couple has been married for decades.
"She must have sacrificed herself to save her husband," Duggan said. "They loved each other so much."
Surrounded by spray paint and tire tracks, family members offered comfort to one another. Family and neighbors want to know what caused a 26-year-old driver to lose control of the SUV.
Cracked brick and debris show how strong the impact was.
Neighbors like Duggan complained that cars typically speed up and down Highway 200 in Cabarrus County, but for now, investigators don't think speed is to blame.
"We don't think speed had anything to do with it, so we don't know if he had some kind of medical condition or not, right now we don't," Green said.
According to Green, there were no immediate signs that the driver of the SUV was impaired. Charges are possible as the investigation continues.
"I can't believe you can get killed in your own yard like that," Duggan said.
Family members were too shaken up to talk. Duggan said Tarlton leaves behind children and grandchildren.