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home : news : law enforcement January 20, 2021

9/26/2020 8:41:00 PM
Gaston County Fatal Accidents

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

Gastonia Police are investigating a traffic accident Friday that sent two people to the hospital where one died and the other is in critical condition. It was the second fatal accident in two days in that city.

Also Friday, an Iron Station man was sentencd to 64 to 89 months in prison for his actions in a December accident that claimed the lives of two women.

Cody Brandon Hastings, 27, whose address when charged was listed as Mt. Holly, pleaded guilty in Gaston County Superior Court to felony death by vehicle in a late December wreck that resulted in the deaths of Carley Danielle Skibo, 26, and Rebekka Nicole Rich, 28. The Highway Patrol said Hastings was driving his 2007 Infiniti at a speed estimated to have been in excess of 70 mph just before midnight on Dec. 28th on highway 27 near Airport Road north of Stanley. Skibo and Rich were passengers.

The speed limit on the highway is 45 mph. Hastings was also originally charged driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license and reckless driving to endanger, but agreed to a plea bargain that consolidated the charges.

Skibo and Rich were killed instantly after Hastings lost control of his car and it crashed into several small trees and then a large one. Hastings was thrown through the windshield of the vehicle, but survived the accident.

While his sentence is for over five and up to seven years, he will only be sleeping there--the judge approved a defense attorney's request that he be able to continue working on work release since he has a six-year-old son to support. Hastings had been free on bond since leaving the hospital, but his attorney said he still has multiple physical problems related to the accident.

In the Friday fatal accident, shortly before 5 PM, a 21-year-old Newton woman was killed when the car in which she was a passenger collided with another on Wren Turnpike just south of Interstate 85 off Radio Street. The victim was identified as Melanie Saesee. The driver of that car, Ryan Deshawn Patterson, 24, of Gastonia, was listed in critical condition at CaroMont Regional Medical Center on Saturday. The driver of the pickup truck with which they collided, Anthony Tyrone Phillips, 42, of Chiefland, Florida, was not injured.

The collision was still under investigation and any witnesses are asked to call Office A.L. Carpenter at 704-842-5168 or Officer P.S. Beaver at 704-842-5165.

On Wednesday night, a Shelby woman died when her Ford Explorer collided head-on with another in the 2100 block of North New Hope Road. 39-year-old Kristen Gayle Townsend died in the crash. The driver of the other Explorer, Shauna Peti Burger, 42, of Gastonia, was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

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