By DeMarco Morgan CBS News November 1, 2018, 6:46 PM NAACP defends mother charged for son's death in hurricane floodwaters
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NAACP is speaking out in defense of a young mother from North Carolina who has been criminally charged after her son drowned in floodwaters from Hurricane Florence. The recovery of 14-month-old Kaiden Lee's body from a soggy field in September was heartbreaking for his 20-year-old mother, Dazia Lee.
"I was holding his hand, trying to hold him up and I couldn't hold him anymore, and he let go," she said.
On Monday, Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey held Lee responsible for her son's death, charging her with involuntary manslaughter. According to a criminal summons, Lee unlawfully drove around a highway barricade that had been placed there by the Department of Transportation due to flooding, and the road was not passable.
Cathey declined a request for an interview, but in September he said, "These were dangerous times. Driving through water where the roads are closed is dangerous for anybody."
The decision has divided the community. Local NAACP president Corine Mack is now speaking out in Lee's defense.
"That is not someone who said, 'OK, I am going to take my car and go into an area purposely to harm my child,'" Mack said.
"It is not a good decision, she has suffered enough," said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman. "The only possible motivation of the sheriff to charge her with involuntary manslaughter is to deter others in the future."
If convicted, she potentially faces 13 to 16 months in prison.