Teen driver admits to doing drugs before fatally striking bicyclist on Christmas Eve

- The family of a Charlotte man is in mourning after a Christmas Eve bicycle ride turned deadly. 

“It’s a tragedy,” said neighbor Steve Burgess. “It’s horrible. I can’t believe it. They just moved in.”

Debris still litters the road where police say Francis Male, 57, was riding his bike around 2:30 pm Sunday. He was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Pineville-Matthews and Johnston Roads, about two miles from where he lived, when he was struck, according to police. He was pronounced dead on scene.

RELATED: Police: Teen driver strikes and kills bicyclist in south Charlotte

Ashleigh Elliott, 18, had just smoked pot and was trying to avoid a red light, police say, when she hit the gas on her Toyota Yaris and “sped up.” It is unclear how fast she was traveling when she struck Male but police say speed is “a factor.” 

Authorities are investigating who had the right of way. 

“They just moved into the neighborhood and I met him for the first time last Friday at a neighborhood party and it’s just a shock,” said Burgess. “I didn’t know him well but he seemed like a very nice guy.”

Another neighbor also called Male a nice guy but was too in shock to say more. A woman outside of Male’s home was visibly shaken and said the family had no comment.

Elliott was arrested and charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. She also faces a drug charge after “admitting that she had smoke marijuana” before the crash. A friend of Elliott’s says she is a good driver and it is unlike her to speed. She has no prior criminal history.

Police say they are not aware of any other deaths at the intersection. Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.

Elliott is being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail on $46,000 bond.

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