A Charlotte man. listed by police as one of the victims of an allegedly drunken driver who crashed several times before being stopped, said he is suffering from nightmares because of the crash.
“I’ve never been sick before or anything,” said Kiful Kelbessa, 47, nearly a week after the incident that he said left him physically injured as well.
“The big problem is nightmares,” he said. “I can’t stop thinking about that day,”
Police said David Lee Rogers, 26, is accused of being drunk when a Kia minivan he was driving struck Kelbessa’s Town Car on Windward Drive at around 2 p.m. Oct. 26.
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Rogers, who faces attempted murder and eight other charges, then left the scene in the Kia and soon crashed into another vehicle on Marquesas Drive before colliding with a tree and a street sign, police said. Meanwhile, an off-duty S.C. Highway Patrol officer who reported seeing Rogers driving erratically, followed the Kia and prevented Rogers from leaving the scene, police said.
Kelbessa, a Charlotte resident, said he was on the way to pick up a friend in Tega Cay when the accident occurred.
“I hear people screaming and I said to myself, ‘Maybe this guy is driving very fast’ and I think something is wrong,” Kelbessa said.
He said he “almost lost consciousness” after his car was struck on the driver’s side and badly damaged and that he suffered several injuries.
“I have had neck surgery about 10 years ago and I feel pain on that and I’m a little bit numb. I lost my car and now I lost my health,” Kelbessa said.
After he was stopped, Rogers grappled with the trooper, identified as Chuck Ross, according to a police report. Ross drew a gun and kept Rogers there until Tega Cay City Police arrived, the report states.
Ross, reached by phone, decline comment.
Police are relieved it wasn’t worse.
“[Ross] stopped the guy before any further injury could occur and we’re grateful to him for that,” Capt. David Nelson, spokesman for the Tega Cay Police Dept., said about the trooper.
“It could have have been a lot worse.”
Nelson also praised the TCPD officers who responded soon after Rogers was stopped.
“They handled it properly and professionally and we’re proud of that,” Nelson said. “My officers did a fabulous job.”
The other charges – there are nine in all – range from leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest to unlawful carrying of a weapon. The latter charge resulted after police said they found a gun in Rogers’ vehicle. As of Monday afternoon he was still being held in the York County Detention Center in lieu of a nearly $185,000 bond.