Woman faces texting while driving, drug charges in fatal Charlotte crash

Woman faces texting while driving, drug charges in fatal Charlotte crash
(Ashton Pellom | WBTV)
(Ashton Pellom | WBTV)
(Ashton Pellom | WBTV)
(Ashton Pellom | WBTV)
Jessica Sowell (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)
Jessica Sowell (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A woman is facing multiple charges in a crash that killed a man late Sunday night in northwest Charlotte.

Jessica Bailey Sowell, 22, is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in the crash that killed 53-year-old Casey Clarence Townsend. Police say Sowell was texting and driving and in possession of various drugs at the time of the crash. 

The accident happened around 11:52 p.m. on Mt. Holly Road near Chattaroy Drive. Police say Sowell was driving a Nissan Altima when she crossed the center line and struck a GMC Yukon, driven by Townsend, head on.

The Nissan stopped in the roadway and the GMC rolled into a ditch. Townsend was trapped in the GMC and pronounced dead on scene.

In addition to death by vehicle, Sowell is charged with texting while driving, trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell or distribute MDMA, possession with intent to sell or distribute methamphetamine, felony possession of schedule II drugs, possession of schedule IV drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and maintaining a vehicle.

Officials say Sowell admitted to being on her phone at the time of the crash. Alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors, police say.

Sowell was taken to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. The largest portion of her bond, $200,000, relates to the trafficking heroin charge. The misdemeanor death by vehicle charges carries a bond of $10,000.

Mt. Holly Road was closed for more than five hours early Monday.

The crash remains under investigation. Any witnesses are asked to call detectives at 704-432-2169.

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