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Crash kills Maiden woman

December 19, 2011

The N.C. Highway Patrol believes alcohol was a factor in a Sunday crash that killed a Maiden woman on N.C. 16 South.

Thelma Jean Chappell, 47, of Maiden, died when the 1999 Ford Explorer she was riding in veered into the median on N.C. 16 and overturned in the area of N.C. 150, said K.E. Travis, a trooper with the highway patrol.

Thomas Ray Klutz, 42, of Conover, was driving the vehicle. Travis said he charged Klutz with driving while impaired and reckless driving.

Other charges may be filed, pending blood results, Travis said.

"I do suspect alcohol," Travis said. "The exact cause is still unknown.

It was a single-vehicle crash."

Travis said he was at the crash scene Monday afternoon continuing an investigation for more details.

Travis said Klutz was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. The hospital did not report Klutz as a patient Monday afternoon.

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