LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A Davidson County girl has died 15 months after a crash that also took the life of an 8-year-old girl, according to her family.
On June 21, 2022, officers responded to Fairview Drive after a 2010 Pontiac G6 crashed into the back of a North Carolina Department of Transportation truck, which was parked on the road while state crews removed storm debris.
Amber Brooke Whitaker, then-35, was allegedly behind the wheel of the Pontiac. Four children, all under the age of 16, were in the vehicle: two of Whitaker’s and two of Brandi Nichols’.
Nichol’s 8-year-old daughter, Jayden Smith, died in the crash.
FOX8 spoke with Nichols on Tuesday. She said hearing about Gracie’s death is forcing her to relive the trauma from the day of the crash.
Whitaker’s then-3-year-old daughter, Gracie, was injured. She survived but left the ICU paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a spinal cord injury.
Gracie’s father confirmed that she died on Tuesday morning.
According to a warrant, Amber Whitaker said she had taken methadone, a drug commonly used for the treatment of opioid addiction. Warrants also state that a witness told police that Whitaker nearly ran over a pedestrian before running a stop sign and that officers on the scene observed her nodding off during questioning.
Whitaker was convicted on May 10 on one count of second-degree murder and two counts of serious injury by motor vehicle and sentenced to 17 to 19 years.
FOX8 reached out to the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office to see if Whitaker will face any additional charges. A representative said it’s too soon to know that yet.
Nichols has known Whitaker since the seventh grade and let her take care of her children often. Nichols knew Whitaker had some struggles but trusted her to protect her babies. After the crash, Nichols said “It’s the worst nightmare. It’s like I can’t wake up from it.”
Nichols said her family got some justice, but Whitaker’s conviction will not bring back her daughter and now Gracie.