Enquirer Herald

Authorities seize black Camaro

YORK -- Authorities have seized a black Chevy Camaro suspected of being involved in a race Saturday night that ended in a wreck near the state line and left three people dead.

Police are investigating a report that a 44-year-old York woman was behind the wheel of the Camaro when, according to police, it raced a Mitsubishi Eclipse south on N.C. 49 before the Eclipse plowed into another car, killing a woman and her toddler.

No charges have been filed against the driver of the Camaro, which police said left the scene of the accident. But a York County sheriff's report notes Carlene Carol Atkinson told authorities "she was driving the black Camaro."

The driver of the Eclipse, Tyler Stasko, has been charged in the deaths. His father told the Observer on Monday his 20-year-old son is a "good Christian kid."

"He's not a villain. He made a bad decision," said John Stasko of Matthews, N.C. "It's not like my son got up in the morning and said, 'I'm going to kill someone.'"

Investigators said they don't know yet how fast the cars were going before the crash and wouldn't say whether the race might have been pre-arranged or was spontaneous.

Stasko was on his way home from Carowinds about 6:44 p.m. with two boys when he collided with a Mercedes entering N.C. 49 from the RiverPointe neighborhood near Lake Wylie. One boy, Hunter Holt, died Sunday as a result of his injuries.

Killed in the Mercedes was Cynthia Furr, 45, a Winthrop University assistant professor and church choir director. Her 2-year-old daughter, McAllister, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Andy Kornberg declined to discuss the case.

"We don't want to do anything to hamper the DA's ability to prosecute the case," he said.

On Saturday, a York County deputy accompanied by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police went to Atkinson's home in York to talk to the family about the accident on N.C. 49, according to a report by the sheriff's office.

Atkinson said she was the driver and gave authorities permission to tow her car, the report said. Court records show she has been ticketed for speeding four times in North Carolina since 2002.

Atkinson couldn't be reached Monday. When a reporter went to her home, a man identifying himself as Tobias Horne said he is an attorney for the family.

"There is an ongoing investigation, and we are working closely with the authorities," Horne said.

Police have said two passengers were in the Camaro but declined to identify them.

Stasko is charged with three counts of second-degree murder.

Court records show he's been ticketed once in North Carolina, last November, for failing to stop at a stop sign and having no operator's license.

Stasko was hospitalized with serious injuries, but his father said he was in stable condition Monday.

His father said the young man hadn't yet been told of the death toll from the crash, for the sake of his recovery.

"My son's alive, but I'm really feeling sorry for the victims...," he said.

Saturday's wreck fueled calls by residents of RiverPointe to have a traffic signal installed at the intersection of N.C. 49 and RiverPointe Drive.

Residents have complained for years that heavy traffic along N.C. 49 makes it dangerous to turn onto the state road.

N.C. transportation officials previously said the traffic volume was not high enough to warrant a signal. But last spring, a signal was approved because of limited sight-distance near the intersection, traffic growth, high speeds and potential confusion created by the size and design of the intersection.

No date has been set for installation.

Observer staff writer April Bethea, Observer researcher Maria David, the Lake Wylie Pilot and Herald staff contributed.