Leeanna Newman

Woman, unborn child die after wreck 
Driver being followed by police 

WCNC.com Leanna Newman

A young Rowan County woman and her unborn baby have died as a result of injuries suffered in a collision Tuesday afternoon with a driver being followed by police.

Authorities in Rowan County say the driver was not being chased -- merely followed. The victim was Leanna Newman, 20, of Salisbury. The wreck happened on Main Street in Landis.

Police in Landis say the incident began unfolding in Kannapolis, however, where officers say they noticed a red Jeep -- driven by Rigo Berto Guillen Martinez, 33 -- being operated erratically. Police say the Jeep crossed the center line and was weaving.

Police say they began following the Jeep. Witnesses told WCNC-TV, the Observer's news partner, that the Jeep struck several vehicles before hitting the Saturn driven by Newman.

The collision happened on Main Street in Landis. Newman's car overturned several times after being hit.

Newman, her 3-year-old daughter and Martinez all were transported to North East Medical Center in Concord initially, but Newman and Martinez were transferred Tuesday evening to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Newman and her unborn baby died overnight.

Martinez is in fair condition this morning.

Police say Newman's 3-year-old daughter was not seriously injured.

Investigators will have three issues to sort through today -- whether alcohol was involved; Martinez's status in the United States; and whether the death was the result of a police chase.

According to WCNC, Martinez had a Mexican driver license but not a N.C. license. Police have not said if alcohol was involved, or whether Martinez was in the United States legally.

Authorities also are expected to investigate whether police were chasing Martinez, although Landis officials said Tuesday that no high-speed pursuit was taking place. There have been several cases in recent months in which motorists being pursued by police struck and injured other motorists.