Jackson County man convicted in fatal collision

Jackson County man convicted in fatal collision

An intoxicated Jackson County man who drove at a high rate of speed and careened into two other cars, killing the second vehicle’s driver and seriously injuring a passenger, will serve more than 14 years in prison, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said. 

A jury in Jackson County Superior Court last week found Johnnie Ray Arch, 51, of Cullowhee, culpable in the July 15, 2019, death of Hazel Jones Shultz, 78, of Bryson City.

A test revealed Arch’s blood alcohol concentration at .11, exceeding the legal limit of .08.

Arch was charged and found guilty of felony death by motor vehicle, felony serious injury by motor vehicle, reckless driving to endanger, hit and run, drive left of center and no operator’s license.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Rocky Deitz’s investigation showed Arch’s vehicle initially hit a Toyota SUV on South River Road, damaging the vehicle’s right-front quarter panel. Arch had ignored double yellow lines and attempted to pass.

He did not stop after hitting the SUV; instead, Arch drove to and continued along North River Road at a high rate of speed.

In a sharp curve, Arch crashed his Volkswagen Beetle head on into Shultz’s Kia Sorrento. She and a passenger were airlifted to Mission Hospital, but life-saving efforts for Schultz proved unsuccessful.

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