Sunday, April 2, 2023

Drunk driver kills 74-year-old woman on Independence

WILMINGTON –– Wilmington Police Department responded to a collision in front of Independence Mall on Independence Blvd., according to a press release Saturday. The release did not state when the incident occurred.

Officers responded to a three-car collision and performed CPR on one of the drivers. Karen Cramer, 74, was pronounced dead on the scene.

Cramer was turning south onto Independence Blvd. from the mall as another driver, Tyler Owen Smith, was traveling north. Smith, 30, ran a red light and crashed into the driver’s side of Cramer’s vehicle, according to WPD.

Officers gave Smith field sobriety tests at the scene. He was arrested after “signs of impairment were detected,” according to WPD. Smith is being held in New Hanover County jail under a $800,000 secured bond.

He has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated felony death by motor vehicle, habitual DWI, driving while license revoked, impaired revocation, and a red light violation.

The individual in the third vehicle was not seriously injured. The passenger in Cramer’s vehicle is in serious but stable condition in the hospital.

PCD offers live briefs for free. Want to read in-depth reporting from our staff? Register now and then sign up for our newsletter, Wilmington Wire, and get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

Send tips and comments to

Related Articles