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‘Person of interest’ named in fatal crash

Kirby

State troopers have a person of interest in a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred near Lowes­ville in Lincoln County earlier this month.

The Times-News has confirmed that Amber Nichole Kirby of 2111 Alexis Lucia Road in Stanley has been deemed a possible suspect in the incident that killed 23-year-old Preston Lee Ward of Iron Station on Oct. 2.

The wreck happened on Hines Circle in the southwestern part of the county. Authorities noted that when they arrived on scene, Ward was already lying dead in the roadway, and that the motorist responsible was nowhere to be found.

Authorities have yet to formerly charge anyone in the incident, but Trooper B. Black with the N.C. State Highway Patrol noted that Kirby does currently have charges pending against her in the incident.

Lincoln County arrest records show that 35-year-old Kirby was the only person jailed on Oct. 2, and according to the Sheriff’s Office, troopers have charged her with a DWI.

On Wednesday, authorities also served her a warrant for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Gaston County Police issued the warrant on Oct. 2, and an employee at the Gaston County Sheriff’s warrant repository told the Times-News Thursday that the warrant noted that Kirby had “unlawfully” operated a 1997 Honda Civic belonging to a woman named Melody Brackett.

The Lincoln County jail website indicates that Kirby additionally faces one count of driving with a revoked license.

According to public records with the N.C. Department of Correction, she has a criminal record in the state including at least two unrelated instances of felony drug possession in Forsyth County in 1996 and 1997. Kirby spent at least eight months in prison for one of the felony charges.

Kirby currently remains behind bars in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center in Lincolnton under a $15,000 secured bond. She is scheduled to make a court appearance on Nov. 9.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON, Staff Writer

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