Passenger killed in single-car crash in south Charlotte

A single-car crash in south Charlotte left one dead and another behind bars.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to a crash at Archdale Drive around 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11. Upon arrival, officers found an unresponsive man, identified as Faustino Israel Ponce Romero, outside of the car. The driver, Jose Mario Mejia Gutierrez, was inside the vehicle with injuries.

Romero was pronounced deceased at the scene. Gutierrez was transported by Medic with minor injuries.

After being cleared at Atrium Health Center, Gutierrez voluntarily went to CMPD headquarters with officers to be interviewed.

Investigators determined that Gutierrez lost control heading west on Archdale Drive coming out of a curve. The front passenger door hit a tree, causing the car to separate in half.

The back half of the car came to a stop near the tree but the front half continued to rotate through a field where Romero, was ejected. The front half of the car was found approximately 150 feet from the tree it originally hit.

Gutierrez was charged with a felony of involuntary manslaughter and traffic violations of reckless driving, no operators license, failure to maintain insurance on the vehicle, and failing to register the vehicle.

The investigation lead to speed being a factor of the crash but not alcohol use.