No charges in death of 6-year-old Swannanoa girl

Fred McCormick

No charges will be filed against the driver involved in an accident that claimed the life of a 6-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve, the Black Mountain Police Department said Jan. 4.

Israel Wilson

Israel Wilson, of Swannanoa, was struck by the car when she ran into westbound traffic on U.S. 70 after breaking away from her mother, Macey Horn, around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 30. The driver of the vehicle was unable to avoid the collision, police said. Israel died the next day.

“We have concluded that (the driver) was not in violation of any motor vehicle laws and did what he could to avoid this tragic accident,” the department said in a press release. “Therefore BMPD will not be pursuing any criminal charges.”

Wilson, who was diagnosed with autism, began running east along the sidewalk parallel to the road, but “abruptly tried to cross the road into oncoming traffic,” the release states.

The child, a kindergartner in the Progressive Education Program at Estes Elementary in Asheville, will be laid to rest at Mountain View Memorial Park in Black Mountain on Thursday, Jan. 5.

“Israel was our angel and was so loved,” Wilson’s grandmother Melissa Edwards told The Asheville Citizen-Times. “She had the most incredible smile and loved to dance and twirl and sing in her own special way.”

Wilson lived in Swannanoa. Many of her family members live in the area.

“Although Israel was diagnosed with autism she never suffered a day,” an obituary prepared by Penland Family Funeral Home in Swannanoa states. “She was a light and joy to all who knew her.”

Buncombe County provided counselors for teachers and students at the school. Teachers wore ribbons in remembrance of the child.

“Israel was a charming, sweet and happy student. Her smile would light up the room,” Donna Garvin of PEP told the Citizen-Times. “Her classmates were fond of her and enjoyed spending time with her. Israel, who loved art, had a flair for using colors and light as a way of expressing the way she saw the world. She loved recess and being outdoors at school. Israel had a joyful laugh that the teachers, staff and students here will miss.”

Wilson’s family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Buncombe County PEP program in the child’s honor.

Abigail Margulis of The Asheville Citizen-Times contributed to this report.