Police in Hickory have charged a 17-year-old with felony death by motor vehicle and DWI after an accident Sunday night that left the teen's best friend dead.
David Engelmann was charged after he was treated and released from a local hospital for injuries he sustained in the wreck on 6th Street NW. It happened around 7:30 p.m. just past a curve in the road.
Police believe the SUV Engelmann was driving hit a curb on the right side and the teen then lost control, crossing the center line and hitting the curb on the opposite lane, causing the vehicle to flip.
Seventeen-year-old Jake Robertson was thrown from the vehicle. Despite efforts at the scene to revive him, Robertson died at a local hospital.
Police believe neither teen was wearing a seat belt and say alcohol and speed were both factors in the crash.
"It's just so sad," said Howard Hamilton, who came with his three kids to the wreck scene Monday morning.
A steady stream of mourners came by to sign a cross at the scene, leave flowers, or just stand in silence.
"I can't believe it happened," said Aaron Gray, a student at Hickory High School.
Fellow student Dillon Tashjin said Engelmann and Robertson "Were like brothers" and that it will be tough for everyone to get over what happened. "It will be a challenge."
There was no school on Monday because of the Labor Day holiday, but classes will be in session on Tuesday and officials are preparing.
"We will have 18 counselors on hand to assist anyone who needs it," said Hickory City Schools spokesperson Beverly Snowden. "This is just a real tragedy," she said.
Meanwhile investigators are still working on the case. They are wanting to find out where the alcohol the teens had came from and establish a timeline as to where the teens were before the accident, as well as where they were heading to.
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