DA talks mom’s arrest in fiery crash, driving impaired

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The driver in a fiery River Road crash that killed her toddler in April appeared in court this morning after a grand jury indictment on several charges.

Henderson appeared this morning in court, where a judge kept her bond at $500,000 and appointed a public defender.

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On April 24 Henderson and her two children were involved in a one-car crash on River Road. The SUV burst into flames, killing the toddler and injuring the mother and other child.

District Attorney Ben David said driving while impaired is not an accident.

“Let me repeat that. Driving while impaired is no accident,” David said. “Driving with children in the car while impaired is child abuse.”

That is why David said he is planning on prosecuting Henderson after for the crash that killed her toddler and injured her other.

“Children are so precious and so vulnerable and parents need to be the first line to protect them,” David said. “When they take the step of not only failing to protect, but actually put them in danger and take their lives, we are going to vigorously prosecute that case.”

A grand jury indicted Melissa Ann Henderson yesterday on charges including involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle, felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, felony serious injury by vehicle, simple possession of schedule IV controlled substance and speeding. They say she was impaired when she crashed.

“Sadly, we can learn from these tragedies and understand that no one is safe and our children deserve a non-drinking designated driver,” Mothers Against Drunk Driving State Executive Director LaRonda Scott said.

Scott said her children’s safety was the reason she got involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“It is, because I’m working on a future of no more victims,” Scott said.

That is why Scott, state and local law enforcement are warning you to make the right decision.

“We can’t erase those tragedies, but you and I and the people that are listening to this today and those that will enjoy the Memorial day weekend, we can make sure that no future tragedies happen,” Scott said.

Henderson is in jail under $500,000 bond. She is expected in court again in June.

Henderson appeared this morning in court, where a judge kept her bond at $500,000 and appointed a public defender.

According to the indictments, Henderson had Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug often sold under the name Xanax, and was driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit when she crashed in a curve in the 9900 block of River Road.