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5 Things to Know: Loved Ones Remember Anndel Taylor, Killed in Buffalo Blizzard

...and four more stories from Dec. 25-31, 2022

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A crowd of people gather in a parking lot, one of whom holds up a sign showing Anndel Taylor in her graduation cap and gown making a funny face.
Family and friends gather for a vigil held in the parking lot of West Mecklenburg High School for Anndel Taylor on Friday night. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Anndel Taylor of Charlotte Among the Dead in Buffalo Snowstorm

Friends and family gathered at West Mecklenburg High School on Friday evening to remember Anndel Taylor, the 22-year-old Charlotte woman who was among more than 30 people killed in last week’s blizzard in Buffalo, New York. Taylor became stuck in her car while driving home from work during the storm and remained stuck for around 18 hours before it is believed she died on Christmas Eve. 

Anndel Taylor takes a selfie, wearing braids and a white shirt, her face half in the sunlight and half shaded.
Anndel Taylor died after being stuck in her car for 18 hours during last weekend’s snowstorm. (Facebook)

Anndel Taylor’s sister, Shawnequa Brown, told the Charlotte Observer that she and other family members were texting with Taylor while she was stuck, beginning on Dec. 23. Taylor reportedly texted that she believed help was on the way after getting a hold of emergency services at around 9 p.m. that night, then said she would take a nap at around midnight. Taylor’s body was found in her car the following day by a Buffalo resident who saw Brown’s desperate pleas for help on Facebook after Taylor failed to respond to calls or texts that morning. 

In a GoFundMe that Brown set up to help pay for funeral and burial expenses, she wrote that Anndel Taylor worked as a certified nurse assistant at an RCA Healthcare Management facility in East Aurora, NY. A West Meck graduate, Taylor moved to Buffalo to help care for her ailing father. Brown has been working to raise awareness about what happened to Taylor, having done multiple interviews with national outlets. “The City Failed Her,” Brown wrote in one Facebook post linking to an NBC News story about the blizzard. 

People in a crowd wear green clothing, shirts with Anndel Taylor's picture and green hats.
Mourners wore green at Friday night’s vigil in honor of Anndel Taylor. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Charlotte Woman Killed in Police Chase

A woman was killed during a police chase in west Charlotte Tuesday morning after officers attempted a traffic stop on a car they believed to be involved with a crime committed the previous day. According to CMPD, officers were alerted to a license plate reader hit for the vehicle, which was believed to be associated with an armed robbery and carjacking that happened on Monday night. When they tried to pull the car over, the driver refused to stop.

Police eventually deployed stop sticks at the intersection of West Boulevard and Donald Ross Road, causing the vehicle to crash into a tree. Monet Darrisaw, 34, believed to be the driver, was pronounced dead at the scene, while a passenger was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

According to CMPD policy, police are only allowed to pursue suspects in a high-speed chase if it is believed the suspect was involved or will be involved in a crime that endangers someone’s life. It is unclear if Darrisaw was believed to be directly involved in the previous night’s crimes or if only the vehicle was involved. 


Governor Requests Report on Outages from Duke Energy

Gov. Roy Cooper has called for a full report from Duke Energy following a weekend that saw the company implementing purposeful blackouts around the Charlotte area, leaving thousands without power on a holiday weekend with no warning.

“I’m deeply concerned about people who lost power and who didn’t get notice about rotating outages,” Cooper tweeted on Monday morning. “Grateful for those who conserved energy. I’ve asked Duke for a complete report on what went wrong and for changes to be made.”

In a statement emailed to customers on Monday afternoon, Duke wrote, “The emergency power outages and requests for energy conservation are a rare occurrence — and a situation we always strive to avoid. Unfortunately, in this case, the temporary outages were necessary to protect the grid from more extensive damage, which would have meant lengthier repairs and longer, more widespread power outages.”

On Wednesday, Raleigh’s WRAL reported that several of Duke Energy’s generating units were either offline or not responding during last weekend’s cold spell, leading to the need for rolling blackouts. It is still unclear why those units were offline. 


Help Available for Skyrocketing Heating Bills

With temperatures dropping quickly the way they did last weekend, Mecklenburg County officials are reminding residents that there is help for those who have trouble paying the skyrocketing costs for heating their homes.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is one of several programs administered by the Department of Social Services (DSS) that help low-income households with their immediate energy needs. On Tuesday, Jan. 3, Mecklenburg County will begin taking LIEAP applications from all eligible households. DSS has already been taking applications through December from senior citizens aged 60 and older or disabled individuals who get help through the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Households must meet the following criteria:

  • At least one eligible U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Cash resources of $2,250 or below
  • Be responsible for the heating cost
  • Income at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Limit

Residents can apply for LIEAP through March 31 or until funds are exhausted. They do not have to be behind on their energy bills to receive a one-time LIEAP payment in the amount of $300, $400 or $500 based on their primary heating source. Applicants must meet income guidelines, be responsible for the bill, provide their account number, and show proof of income.


Three People Killed in Last Week of the Year

Three people were killed in separate incidents since the publication of our last Roundup, bringing the total number of homicides in Charlotte to 115, assuming (and hoping) there are no killings in Charlotte today.

At around 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24, police responded to a call about a medical emergency at a hotel on Rexford Drive near SouthPark Mall, where they found 32-year-old Wilmer Olivas-Alvarez suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Medic transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police took a person of interest into custody at the scene and later announced that the 41-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with murder, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

 

(The above map, created by Queen City Nerve, tracks all homicides as they were reported by CMPD in 2022. The black points on the map signify gun deaths, blue signifies a homicide with an unknown cause of death, red signifies a stabbing, and green signifies a “justified” homicide.) 

Shortly before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 25, police responded to assist Medic at a call on Beard Road near Highland Creek in north Charlotte, where they found a man lying on the side of the road suffering from life-threatening injuries. Medic transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. At the time of this writing, no further details are known about the killing.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, police responded to an attempt-to-locate call on Jeff Adams Drive near Statesville Road in north Charlotte, where they found 33-year-old Scott Howard suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Medic transported Howard to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to our records, Howard’s killing was the 115th homicide in Charlotte this year, including at least five that were later deemed justified. (Police are also carrying out a death investigation that could become a homicide investigation after finding a man dead near some train tracks on West Summit Avenue near South End on Thursday morning.)


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