The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


May 1, 2014

Drunken driver causes fatality

Pickup crosses centerline, hits victim head-on

Thursday, May 1, 2014 — A Norwood man is to blame for a crash that killed a woman who had been at an all-day meeting in Albemarle.

Zachary Lloyd Butler, 24, was charged with driving while impaired and careless and reckless driving in Friday’s 5:07 p.m. crash that killed a Guilford County woman, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol. More charges could be forthcoming.

Butler was traveling south on N.C. Highway 49 just north of Richfield when he lost control of a ‘99 Chevrolet truck and crossed the centerline, striking a northbound Pattie Jean Ash-Luck, 49, of Whitsett, reports show. Butler was traveling at an estimated speed of 81 mph, compared to Ash-Luck’s 55 mph.

Impact of the collision forced the 2010 Ford driven by Ash-Luck to slam into a tree off the northbound shoulder. Butler’s vehicle came to a rest in the northbound lane.

Butler also suffered injuries from the crash and was taken to Carolina Medical Center - Northeast.

Tony Davis, 42, of Albemarle, a passenger in Butler’s truck, was also hurt.

Ash-Luck was taken to Stanly Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Ash-Luck worked for Monarch, a behavioral health services provider, since 2012 as a customer services director, according to a company spokeswoman. She was attending a meeting at the company’s Albemarle office on Friday and was returning in the direction of home at the time of the crash.

“She was a very dedicated staff member who always went above and beyond,” Kara Froberg, clinical operations director for Monarch, said.

“She is going to be greatly missed by her colleagues. She was a wonderful person.”

Ash-Luck is survived by a husband, two sons and a grandchild.

To submit story ideas, contact Ritchie Starnes at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email


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