A 23-year-old North Carolina man accused of killing three people in a car crash is now on trial. The fatal accident occurred in 2009, when the suspect collided with another vehicle as he traveled down a state highway. Two individuals in the second vehicle, a 45-year-old mother and her 2-year-old daughter, died in the crash. Also killed was a 13-year-old passenger in the suspect's car.
Police claim the suspect and a 47-year-old acquaintance were racing at the time of the accident, with witnesses saying they saw both vehicles traveling between 70 mph and 100 mph. Investigators reportedly determined that the suspect's car was moving at 83 mpg when it struck the other vehicle.
Following the accident, both suspects were charged with three charges of second-degree murder. If convicted, the suspects would face eight to more than 30 years of jail time for each charge. Prosecutors discussed possible plea bargains for both suspects, but never made a formal offer. The man's bail was set at $45,000, while his acquaintance's was initially set at $3 million. While she was not directly involved in the crash, she reportedly has 15 speeding convictions on her record. Her bail was later decreased to $900,000.
Prosecutors initially planned to conduct the suspects' trials simultaneously, but the woman's attorney argued that doing so would be unfair for his client, who was not involved in the deadly crash. The judge agreed and set a court date for the man, while the woman's trial will be scheduled at a later date.
While this case moves forward in criminal court, the families of those who died in the crash may also choose to turn to civil court proceedings in hopes of obtaining damages.
Source: Charlotte Observer, "Trial of man tied to fatal N.C. 49 crash will begin Monday," Gary L. Wright, Dec. 4, 2011