LENOIR — A detention officer in Burke County was indicted on a felony manslaughter charge after police say she fatally hit a man walking last month.
Ginger Rae Laws, 32, was indicted Monday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after a July 16 crash that killed Scottie Lee Hilton, of Lenoir, according to court documents filed in Caldwell County.
Trooper Jeff Swagger told WSOC - TV that the crash report said Laws was distracted by an “Electronic communication device,” like a cellphone, at the time of the crash.
WSOC - TV reported that Hilton was killed when he was walking in the grass along U.S. 321 South in Lenoir.
Laws has worked at Burke-Catawba Detention Confinement Facility since October 2010, said Maj. Billy Boughman, administrator at BCDCF. Laws, like the other employees at BCDCF, is an unsworn officer with an annual salary of $32,855.
“She’s been a great employee,” Boughman said. “I really hate for all this to happen to her.”
Laws has been on paid leave since Tuesday, Boughman said. She also was on leave for a few days last week, and took a week of leave following the crash.
She told Boughman about the crash, he said. She was on her way to work at the time of the crash.
When a detention officer is charged with a felony, they almost always have their certification revoked, Boughman said. He said once he knows the status of Laws’ certification, a decision on her employment will be made.
“If you’re charged with a felony, that pretty well does away with your certification,” Boughman said.
Laws will remain on leave until the status of her certification is confirmed, Boughman said. He said he expects to know by the end of the week.