A Hickory man is charged with second-degree murder in connection to a fatal accident in Gaston County Sunday night, according to the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office online inmate search.
Joshua Todd Soule, 41, was initially charged with driving while impaired and fleeing to elude arrest. Authorities say a Gaston County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop the 41-year-old after he drifted in and out of his lane on U.S. 321 near Rankin Avenue and ran a red light on Rankin Avenue.
State Trooper Ray Pierce said Soule sped away, exceeding speeds of 60-65 mph, and crashed into a fence and air conditioning unit on Rankin Avenue. One pedestriain was killed, another was injured, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Soule is now being held under a $2 million secured bond, according to Gaston's inmate search.
The murder charge was added in court after the Highway Patrol confirmed that the sheriff’s deputy was not responsible for hitting the pedestrians. There was confusion Sunday night when witnesses on Rankin Avenue told investigators the deputy struck the pedestrians.
“There is absolutely no evidence that would lead us to believe [the deputy hit anyone],” Pierce said.
The pedestrian killed was from Decatur, Georgia, according to the Gaston Gazette.
Shawn Smith, the pedestrian who was injured, was in critical condition Sunday night. Pierce said Smith is in stable condition as of Monday morning.
According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch website, Soule has several pending charges in Catawba County, including littering, drug possession and several traffic violations.
The Gaston Gazette contributed to this article.