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Man jailed under $2M bond, accused of running red light, causing crash that left 5 injured in Catawba Co.

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 11:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM EDT
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NEWTON, N.C. (WBTV) - A man is accused of running a red light and causing a six-car crash that left five people injured including three in a driver’s education vehicle in Catawba County.

The crash left a driver’s education teacher, student driver and their twin sister with serious injuries. The Newton Police Department arrested 29-year-old Wenfred Alan Hooper on June 21 around 1:13 p.m.

Hooper was taken into custody, after being released from Catawba Valley Medical Center where he was being treated for injuries he suffered in the serious multi-vehicle crash near West 7th Street and Northwest Boulevard on June 16.

According to Newton police officers, Hooper didn’t stop at a red light and hit several cars, causing a chain reaction of collisions. Six vehicles were involved with five people taken to the hospital.

The student driver was taken to the hospital and released after the crash.

The rear passenger of the driver’s education car, who is also the twin sister to the student driver, was later flown to Wake Forest Baptist Health, Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. She was listed in critical condition and remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

The driving teacher has been released from Wake Forest Baptist Hospital and is recovering at home. Another woman was taken to Catawba Valley with non-life-threatening injuries and later released.

Hooper is charged with careless and reckless driving, breaking and entering motor vehicle and driving while impaired.

Officials say they learned during the investigation that after the initial crash, Hooper tried to flee the scene by attempting to steal another vehicle from the crash scene.

He was taken to the Catawba County Detention Center and given a $2 million bond.

In his first court appearance, Hooper was appointed a court appointed attorney. His next court date is scheduled for July 31 and he is still being held in jail on a $2 million bond.

“This is a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are with all involved families,” said Newton Police Chief Sipe.

This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may be sought at a later date. Anyone with information pertaining to this crash is encouraged to contact the Newton Police Department at (828) 465-7430.

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