By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina driver fell asleep at the wheel and careened off an interstate highway, injuring herself, two other adults and six children, authorities said.

No one in the vehicle was wearing proper restraints, including the children ranging from 4 months to 10 years old, State Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce told news outlets. An 8-month-old baby was being held by an adult in the front seat, he said.

All nine people remained hospitalized with serious injuries, Pierce said Friday. Three children’s injuries were life-threatening, he added.

Driver Shontavia Smith Barber told troopers she fell asleep at the wheel Thursday night. Her SUV veered off the right shoulder of Interstate 485 Inner Loop at the Dixie River Road bridge, near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Pierce said. The SUV overturned after hitting the dirt embankment.

Barber was charged with driving with a revoked license, careless and reckless driving, failure to wear a seat belt and failure to restrain the six children.

“This is just one of those stark reminders to make sure you wear a seat belt and that everyone else in your vehicle has a restraint on,” Pierce said.

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