Fort Mill man accused of killing NC girlfriend dies in hospital

slyttye@charlotteobserver.com, jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJune 20, 2014 

— A Fort Mill man accused of killing his girlfriend and then possibly trying to commit suicide by driving his car into a truck the next day died Thursday night of his injuries, hospital officials said.

Jimmy Wayne Estes, 51, had been charged with murder in connection with the death of Frances Gutnik, 52, police said. She was found in her home Sunday in Charlotte's Steele Creek area suffering from life-threatening assault wounds.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified Estes as a suspect in the case, but before they could find him, Estes was seriously injured in a wreck about 2 p.m. Monday on U.S. 21 in Fort Mill, near Gold Hill Road. The York County Sheriff’s Office said Estes’ car slammed into a truck carrying scrap metal, knocking the truck on its side.

Estes was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with broken bones and a serious head injury. Police detectives said evidence indicated that Estes tried to commit suicide by vehicle.

Neighbors Bill and Peggy Joyner told The Herald that authorities had not allowed Estes' parents to see him while he was in the hospital earlier this week. The only information they would relay, Peggy Joyner said, is that Estes was comatose and possibly would not survive.

Estes died Thursday evening, authorities said. It was unknown Friday morning if his family had been allowed to see him before he died.

He sold used furniture in Rock Hill and Fort Mill and enjoyed riding motorcycles, his neighbors said.

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Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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