North Carolina

She drank enough to die – then tied a puppy to her bumper and drove, NC police say

Gloria Denise Mitchell

A crowd witnessed the gruesome scene outside a Selma, NC hotel after a woman drank a potentially lethal amount of alcohol and got behind the wheel of a pickup truck, according to police.

Police said the woman left a small, dark-haired puppy tied by a leash to the bumper of the truck and dragged the dog to death before crashing into a U-Haul box truck in the parking lot of the Knights Inn on Graham Street on the evening of July 5.

Gloria Denise Mitchell, 45, of 105 G-Long Drive, Garner, was charged with felony cruelty to animals, DWI, and careless and reckless driving. A toxicology report showed she had a .347 Blood Alcohol Content — more than four times the legal limit — and had methadone and marijuana in her system.

Mitchell was also charged with verbally threatening both officers and EMS responders as they were transporting her to the hospital to be treated for a deep laceration to her leg.

Selma police received the report of an accident involving a U-Haul truck about 9:30 p.m. On the way there, dispatchers told officers, a woman was walking away from the scene and reported “a lot of screaming in the background.”

Police said Mitchell smelled of alcohol from several feet away and that “she was very belligerent and hostile” when they arrived.

A person then approached an officer and handed him a dog leash, telling him it had been attached to the truck when Mitchell decided to drive away.

Vikki Latner, listed as a witness, told police Mitchell backed up, dragging the dog, and then dragged it through the parking lot while bystanders tried to stop her.

Mitchell then backed through the parking lot at a high rate of speed and collided with a U-Haul truck, ramming it into another truck, the report said. The impact crinkled the pickup bed and it punched through the cab, police said.

Hotel security footage supported the witnesses’ statements, showing the pickup leave its parking space with a leash attached to the front bumper, and drag the puppy as it failed to keep up, police said.

Police found the puppy lying dead in front of the hotel lobby, where the leash finally broke.