GREENSBORO, N.C. — A 22-year-old accused of killing an elderly man in Greensboro cried as she appeared in court, Monday.
Investigators say Gwynne Furches was severely high on drugs when she hit and killed 72-year-old Elijah Coppedge.
Furches faces up to 20 years in jail for DWI and Felony Death by Motor Vehicle among other charges.
"You are here on the following matters, 1 count of Driving While Impaired, that's a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum punishment of up to 24 months active in prison. You are charged with 1 count of 'No Operator's License', that is a Class 3 misdemeanor that carries a punishment of no more than 20 days. You are also charged with Felony Death by a Vehicle that is a Class D felony that carries a punishment of up to 204 months," said Judge Betty Brown as she read Furches' charges.
Police say she ran off the road on Gate City Boulevard Thursday night and hit Coppedge. Coppedge died at the scene three minutes after being hit, according to the prosecutor.
Furches seemed shocked by the request from the prosecutor to raise her bond and seek more charges. She cried as the prosecutor listed out the injuries suffered by the victim.
The prosecutor said Furches didn't immediately report to the responding officer that she had hit a pedestrian. She said it was the fire firefighters surveying the area who found the victim after noticing blood and a dent on the side of Furches' Impala.
She also said the officer on the scene reported Furches was severely impaired and behaving strangely.
"It was his thought that she was impaired on narcotics. During this time, it is interesting and she is hysterical and they are trying to get her to calm down and within seven minutes she is asleep," said the prosecutor describing what the responding officer saw.
The prosecutor also said the state was concerned that Furches has had several collisions. She added that Furches had no business driving a car and had 'demonstrated that she is a danger to life and property.'
Court documents also state, Furches had no license due to a pending DWI from a February 2018 accident, for which she has a June 12 scheduled court appearance. Officers who responded to that accident said Furches was impaired. The officers said they suspected narcotics at the time and drew a blood sample for testing. However, because they could not get enough blood sample from Furches, they were unable to test to confirm exactly what substance she was suspected to have been on.
Additionally, police said Furches' wasn't truthful when she was asked about her identity. They said she gave the name of her identical twin sister Jessa instead.
Furches' mother Jaime and her twin sister were in court for the hearing.
"This is the worst thing that has happened to me and my family and I know the Coppedge family this is the worst thing that has happened to them and I just want to see them and tell them how sorry I am," said Jessa Furches.
"Gwynne is not a bad person but she made a horrible mistake and she does need to pay the consequences for this mistake so she can learn," added Jessa Furches.
Jaime Furches read a statement in court:
"I want the family of Mr. Coppegde to know that my heart and soul hurt so much for their loss and I feel shame and embarrassment on behalf of Gwynne's actions and the choices she made that night," said part of the statement read by Furches' mother.
The prosecutor said she plans to seek more charges once the test results return.
Judge Brown said she would assign a court-appointed attorney to Furches and raised her bond to $500,000 and is due back in court on July 2.