Mother, aunt say they saw log truck kill Sampson County girl

Investigators: Victim was getting off school bus

POSTED: 5:45 PM Apr 23 2013   UPDATED: 8:02 PM Apr 24 2013
Alyiah Morgan
HARRELLS, SAMPSON COUNTY (WWAY) -

The family of a girl killed in a hit and run accident involving a log truck Tuesday says they saw the incident happen.

The aunt of Alyiah McKenzie Morgan, 7, says she and the girl's mother were waiting for the first-grader to get off the bus Tuesday in front of their home on U.S. 421 in Sampson County, as they did every day. Rosabell Martinez tells WWAY they saw Alyiah get off the bus. They also heard a log truck coming down the road and tried to yell to Alyiah not to cross the road, but it was too late.

"I was screaming for her to stop, don't come, please stop, and she just came, and he just didn't slow down," Martinez said. "He didn't stop. He just ran her right over."

Alyiah died on the way to the hospital.

"It's terrible that people are in such a rush that they can just run a little baby down and not even care," Martinez said.

Family described Alyiah as a tom boy who was full of life and looking forward to starting to play soccer. They say the girl and her mother just moved back to the area from New York to live with family two months ago.

Martinez says Alyiah's mother considered the child a "gift from God," because she did not believe she would be able to have children before getting pregnant with Alyiah.

The truck driver charged with Alyiah's death, Johnny Allen Spell, 37, of Roseboro, made his first court appearance in Sampson County Wednesday. Spell is charged with passing a stopped school bus, hit and run and involuntary manslaughter. NCHP Sgt. Bryan Smith tells WWAY Spell also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. A judge gave him a court-appointed attorney. Spell is due back in court Friday.

WWAY tried to speak with Spell in jail, but his attorney's office denied the request.

Court records show Spell also faces unrelated charges for driving without a license, larceny and possession of stolen property.

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