As the state catches its breath and starts the clean-up from Saturday’s tornadoes, a 21-year-old Raleigh man sits in the Wake County jail on an $80,500 bond. The storm claimed at least 21 lives. The police say the Raleigh man is responsible for the death of one woman and the serious injuries of another. He has been charged with driving while impaired, reckless driving and felony serious injury by vehicle.
According to police, the accident occurred just after midnight on Saturday morning. The victim was making a left-hand turn onto Lake Wheeler Road when the defendant’s SUV struck her car. The defendant was heading south and speeding, the police said. He was also straddling the double yellow line.
The force of the collision caused the victim’s car to make three complete rotations. The victim sustained serious head injuries and died some time later. Her passenger was also injured.
The defendant’s SUV overturned and came to rest against a tree.
Police did not say if this was a first offense for the defendant, nor did they release his blood alcohol level at the time of the accident.
Investigating officers plan to meet with the district attorney’s office to discuss upgrading the charges against the defendant. They did not say if they were asking that one count of felony serious injury by vehicle be upgraded to felony death by vehicle or aggravated felony death by vehicle. Each of these crimes requires the offender to be driving while intoxicated at the time of the accident. The aggravated charge is made if the offender has been convicted of DWI in the past seven years.
The defendant faces penalties including jail time, fines, community service and revocation or limitation of driving privileges.
Source: News & Observer, “Raleigh man jailed in fatal wreck,” 04/18/11