Franklin, Va. – A 12-year-old girl was killed when the car she was riding in crashed on Route 258 in Franklin, according to Va. State Police.
The accident happened around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, half a mile south of Sycamore Church Road.
Police say a 2007 Chevy Impala, driven by Tony Sledge, 45, was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed. According to police, Sledge tried to make an unsafe lane change, lost control and overturned several times.
“He just had left my house, he just walked in and spoke, he had his daughter, his daughter was in there. She gave me a hug and they left,” says Sledge’s sister, Vanessa Jones.
Along with the driver, there was an adult passenger, Monique Boone, and five children ranging from 5 to 12 years old.
Tonashea Sledge, 12, died at the scene. Her father was the driver.
Jones says Monique Boone was Sledge’s girlfriend.
She says Boone explained that they changed lanes to pass another car.
“The car speeded up and wouldn’t let him back in. In the meantime, a truck was coming and I guess he just panicked and lost control,” says Jones.
Police say speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
NewsChannel 3 asked Jones if her brother had been drinking, “Um, no. He wasn’t drinking when he came to my house,” she says.
The driver and passengers were all taken to area hospitals.
Jones says her brother is fighting for his life right now with a broken neck among other injuries.
And, as she and her family grieves over the loss of her young niece, she says she just hopes that he pulls through.
“Just praying,” Jones says.
The investigation is ongoing and police say charges are pending.