Police charged a 17-year-old in connection to an automobile accident on May 15 in which a West Johnston High School senior who was a passenger in her vehicle suffered fatal personal injuries, according to North Carolina state troopers.


A charge of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle was filed against Shantoya Howard after the crash on White Oak Road in which 17-year-old Ariel Hughes died.


Howard suffered injuries in the accident and as of May 16, was listed in good condition at WakeMed Hospital.


According to troopers, Howard was traveling at an estimated speed of 55 mph in a 45 mph zone at around 4:30 a.m. when the vehicle ran off the road, collided with a tree, and caught fire. Howard said that she swerved to avoid a deer, but troopers say they were unable to confirm that.


Troopers said that Hughes was not wearing a seat belt and died on impact.

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