Bond lowered for Kure Beach man accused in two hit-and-run deaths
Posted March 6
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge agreed Thursday to lower the bond for a 21-year-old man charged in the hit-and-run deaths last month of two drivers who were helping stranded motorists along Interstate 40 near Garner after a snowstorm.
The bond for Michael Doran, a student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington who lives with his parents at Kure Beach, was lowered from $500,000 to $400,000 at the request of his attorney, Roger Smith Jr.
“(He’s) just absolutely grief stricken,” Smith said of his client. “(He’s) still in shock, absolutely in shock.”
Investigators say Doran was traveling 60 mph on the snow- and ice-covered road Feb. 13 when he hit and killed Nathaniel Williams, 34, of Hope Mills, and Larry Kepley, 39, of Winston-Salem, with his Volvo station wagon.
Doran never stopped and was found later in a wooded area near Lake Wheeler Road, according to a warrant.
In court, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden pointed out that Doran ran from police after the crash.
“He's looking at some extensive time in prison, so we consider him a flight risk,” he said. “When the police find him, he makes some spontaneous statements. ‘You got me. I'm not going to run anymore. Who did I hit? Are they dead?’”
Doran is charged with felony death by motor vehicle, hit-and-run and driving while impaired.
Cruden said Doran was on his way to Chapel Hill from Kure Beach to see his girlfriend for Valentine's Day and had purchased strawberries, chocolate and wine before he left. He said investigators found everything but the wine in the car, so they think he might have consumed it on the road.
Kepley’s mother, Sandra Kepley, said the family is coping with the loss as best as they can.
“It's not easy, but life goes on,” she said.
Sandra Kepley said she wasn’t surprised to learn that her son, a truck driver, had stopped to help.
“He was that kind of guy,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face, always going around with a smile.”
After hearing what Doran is accused of, Sandra Kepley had a message: “I don't think anyone should be out drinking and driving, especially when the weather and the roads were bad. It's bad enough when the roads are good.”
Despite the tragedy, she has found strength in her faith.
“Larry was a good Christian young man,” she said. “I think God wanted Larry in heaven more than he wanted him down here, so that makes me happy.”