Crash sends 3 teens to hospital

A two-car collision between a SUV and a sedan Friday in Newton sent three teens to the hospital.

A 2004 Honda and a 2003 Hummer were traveling northbound on Northwest Boulevard about 3 p.m. The Honda, driven by Kayla Michelle Newsome, 17, of Newton, was in the left northbound lane. The Hummer, driven by Claude A. McPherson, 47, of Newton, was in the right northbound lane. Both vehicles were traveling 45 mph, which is the posted speed limit on Northwest Boulevard.

Newton Police Chief Don Brown said a vehicle in front of the Hummer slowed down to turn right into a parking lot, and McPherson attempted to change lanes.

There wasn't enough space, however, for McPherson's Hummer to safely merge into the left lane, and the Hummer's left rear struck the Civic's right front.

The Civic flipped upside-down from the crash and landed on its front windshield.

Brown said the size difference in the two vehicles caused the flip.

"Typically, you don't see a rollover in a crash like this," he said.

Newsome, along with the Civic's two passengers, Melinda Cobie Carpenter, 19, of Conover, and Evangeline Lee, 16, of Conover, were transported from the scene to Catawba Valley Medical Center. Brown said their injuries were non life-threatening.

According to a police report, Lee was the only person involved in the crash who wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Damage to the Civic was estimated at $6,000, but Brown said the vehicle is probably totaled. The Hummer sustained $1,000 in damage from the crash.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved in the collision.

McPherson was charged in the incident for careless/reckless driving.

Newton police and fire departments, as well as the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad, responded to the crash. It took about an hour for emergency responders to clear the scene.