UPDATE: Elbert Horton was indicted for Felony Second Degree Murder in a court appearance on March 19th. He received a secure bond of $250,000 and was transported to jail to await his next court appearance.
Pasquotank Co., N.C. - A 30-year-old Elizabeth City man is facing several charges after police say he was driving drunk, with his kids in the car, moments before crashing into a pick up truck that killed a retired school teacher.
Elbert Horton was arrested and charged with felony death by a vehicle and child abuse, among other charges, back on December 19.
According to district court records, just before 4 p.m., a North Carolina State Trooper pulled up to the scene of a crash on Body Road in Elizabeth City. There, he says he found Ellen Russell inside her rolled over pick up truck. She died on the scene. He says Horton was driving a mini-van, also damaged on the side of the road.
According to the search warrant, when the trooper approached Horton, he smelled alcohol. Horton told the trooper he drank two or three 22oz beers prior to the crash. The trooper says Horton was mumbling and blew a .20 on a breathalyzer test.
Horton was charged with child abuse after the crash, as well. Court records show there were four kids in the mini-van Horton was driving. All of them were 12 and under. The following statement was written under the officer's comments on Horton's citation: "Children stated they knew they were going to crash because they knew their daddy had been drinking all day and was driving too fast".
As for the woman who died at the scene, 62-year old Ellen Russell was a retired school teacher from Gates County and then worked as a part-time teacher in Pasquotank County.
"It couldn't have been worse," said former Buckland Elementary School principal, Don Gregory. "She was a super person, had a special smile, nice personality. Any child would be to happy to have her as a teacher. It's huge loss."
NewsChannel 3 spoke to Russell's son, who did not want to give an on-camera interview, but did say, "She was a great woman who will be missed by many".
Horton will be back in court to face his child abuse charge on January 22nd. He will face his other three felony charges in February.