Mother who lost daughter, grandson in Hickory Police crash channels grief into action
Beth Fox has started a petition for a statewide no-chase policy.
HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - The mother and grandmother of the young woman and her son who were killed during a police chase in Hickory on Sept. 8 has launched a campaign to stop, or place strict limits police chases across North Carolina.
Cynthia Lail and her 12-year-old son were killed when their minivan was struck by a Hickory Police car that was chasing a motorcycle for reckless driving and not displaying a license tag.
Beth Fox said her daughter and grandson were making a DoorDash delivery near Highway 70 and 13th Street in Hickory on Sept. 8 when their Honda was struck by the Ford SUV.
“One minute at a time. One minute at a time. This has been a nightmare,” Beth Fox said. “But we are holding on because we are a very strong, close family. We have a very big family.”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol released the accident report on Wednesday. It shows that the Ford police SUV was traveling 95 miles an hour when it struck the Honda being driven by Cynthia Fox.
After impact, the Honda traveled 279 feet across the road before coming to rest in the parking lot of a business.
The man Hickory Police were chasing, 24-year-old Chanceler Timothy Johnson, was due in court on Wednesday but did not appear. The district attorney said that Johnson had contracted COVID-19. The court date was rescheduled for Oct. 23.
Johnson turned himself in at the Catawba County Detention Center on Tuesday. He is facing two counts of eluding arrest with a motor vehicle causing death.
“The fact that a police officer was chasing a motorcycle for reckless driving and no tag, which are infractions. He didn’t hurt anybody, he didn’t steal anything. Yes he did wrong, don’t get me wrong. Lots of people have said they don’t want the motorcyclist charged. I disagree with them; if he hadn’t have run, if he hadn’t have run, my daughter and grandson wouldn’t have been killed,” Beth Fox said.
Fox has channeled much of her grief into action, creating a petition to set a statewide no-chase policy.
The policy would have some parameters. “There have to be stronger policies that positively declare that there should be no high speed chases for infractions such as speeding, no tag, no license,” the petition says.
“I’m not saying cops can’t pull people over. I’m not saying cops can’t chase somebody, I’m saying that if it’s an infraction, the radio is faster than the car,” Fox said. “He wasn’t going to catch him. He was not going to catch him. So, once again, senseless that we lost two beautiful souls.”
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