PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Lindsay Mathis, 50, was hit and killed by a pickup truck Aug. 12 while riding his motorcycle at the intersection of Highway 210 and Highway 117 in Pender County.
Lee Malpass, 15, was driving the truck that killed Mathis. He had only had his permit for about three months.
"I came to the stoplight, stopped for a few seconds, went to turn and just didn't see him in time," Malpass said.
Malpass and Faye Decatur, Mathis' mother, sat together on a porch swing Tuesday, minutes after Malpass was told to turn himself into a juvenile counselor with the Pender County District Attorney's office.
"I miss my son but nothing I do will bring him back, so why put punishment on a child that made an innocent mistake?" Decatur asked.
Malpass says he faces a charge of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Decatur, however, plans to plead with the District Attorney to drop the charge.
"No matter what happens, it's not going to bring him back," Decatur said. "This was truly an accident. Lee had no intentions of doing that."
Malpass and Decatur say they would like to see the light at the intersection changed. There is no green arrow signaling to turn left.
"Before I see this happen to another teenager or someone takes another life, I would like for the (Department of Transportation) to please reconsider that light over there. It's uncalled for," Decatur said.
The DOT has gotten several emails from concerned drivers about the intersection. It issued a statement to one of those drivers that read:
A study was completed in April 2017 at the intersection of U.S. 117 and N.C. 210 in Rocky Point. The attached letter provides more information on what was reviewed for this study. Although, technical warrants are not met for additional left turn phases at this intersection, due to the configuration, the department is in approval of this installation. The cost estimate to complete this work is $31,000.
Decatur and Malpass have been in contact each day since Mathis' death, a tragedy that brought them together.
"Lindsey has connected us," Decatur said. "We never know what God will put in our life. We never know how they will come for."
Malpass said he is grateful for Decatur and her family's support as the stress of what he caused is often too hard to bear.
"I have been stressed out. I have been bothered by it a lot," he said. "Like I said, I am a good kid. I try to do the best I can. I am grateful she is not one of those people that wants to see me go away."
Decatur has found peace hearing Malpass describe Mathis' final moments.
"I ran over to him and I went to check on him," Malpass recalled. "The last thing was that he looked at me, then looked into the sky, and then that was kinda it."
Malpass' family says Lee has also been charged with falsifying information to an officer. They said Malpass' grandmother went into the driver's seat after the accident and told deputies she was the one driving to try to spare Lee.
The District Attorney's Office would not comment on any charges that Malpass is underage.