Sister of woman killed in alleged drunk driving crash talks to WBTV
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jeanette Rafferty says Marie Crooke was "my sister and soul mate".
Marie and her daughter, Jennifer Hunt were killed last Wednesday night on Matthews Township Parkway in Matthews when - according to police - an impaired driver, Justin Jones slammed into the family's vehicle. Jennifer Hunt's two daughters were also in car. They suffered minor injuries.
Jeanette Rafferty and friends sat down with WBTV to talk about her big sister, and the crash.
"It was a shock at first. We couldn't get our hands around it until maybe a couple of days later that's when the tears started for me," she says.
The driver, Justin Jones, has been charged with two counts of felony death by vehicle, and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. He's also facing DWI and reckless driving charges.
Rafferty says "Marie and Jennifer would want you to forgive him. They were Christians. And I feel the same way".
But she adds"I'm angry at him. I'm angry at everybody who has the ability to go out and drink and think of nobody else. It's not right to take somebody's life".
Rafferty says back in the 1970's a young Marie taught horseback riding at their grandfather's stable, Porter's, in Charlotte.
"She was patient. She was kind. She had a way with students", says Rafferty.
After graduating from High School, Rafferty says Marie went to a riding school in West Virginia. She came back to Charlotte and introduced the riding program to her grandfather's school... teaching jumping or show riding.
"She was talented in that she could teach very slowly and succinctly. That's what Marie had such a big value for - building the business there. She had a real heart for the kids".
Rafferty also sent a message to people out celebrating the New Year - urging revelers not to drink and drive.
"Be considerate and think about your family. What if your daughter or mother or husband went behind the wheel and somebody gets slammed into because they were drinking and driving. It's such a simple cure", she says.
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