Local News

Bond lowered for Kure Beach man accused in two hit-and-run deaths

Posted March 6, 2014

— 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.”


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Don Dickerson Mar 7, 2014
    user avatar

    Just role-playing for a sec, but I don't think he drank the wine while driving up from Wilmington. Who the heck would try drinking wine (presumably from a large bottle) while cruising highways crawling with HP? The logistics, added to this guy's age and the likelihood of someone just out of his teens even LIKING wine that much tells me the bottle got tossed when the car was abandoned. What I noticed was the absence of any mention of the alleged controlled substances that were reported found when the police found the car and/or the perp. Drugs can be a way of easy finance in enough quantity and that's exactly what I would want answered in my courtroom before making it easier for this scofflaw to walk the streets again. Lawyers saying "he's still in shock, Your Honour" is de facto and not news; what happened to the drug angle?

  • Todd Jenkins Mar 7, 2014
    user avatar

    No body's advocating him to get off…I'm just saying quite wasting money on keeping him in jail until a trial. There are options on the table here for all the clueless people that just think Wake County is loaded with money.

  • monami Mar 7, 2014

    Roger Smith, huh? Drink, drive, ice, hit and kill people, leave scene, hide from police, get caught and hire Roger Smith. Mom and Dad need to stop enabling. But they won't.

    Character flaws such as Doran's cannot be fixed. The only question is how many others will he hurt with his callous behavior before he (literally or figuratively) crashes and burns.

  • Betty Lanier Mar 7, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    They were killed in Wake County by a person that chose to drink and drive in icy conditions! He most certainly did not need his bond lowered and should still be locked up in jail!

  • LocalYokel Mar 7, 2014

    Please provide the name of the judge that is guilty of lowering bond for this alleged killer who is a flight risk.

  • Dea2 Mar 6, 2014

    He killed two people because he chose to drink and drive on icy roads, didn't stop, and hid from the law. His decision making process has already been shown to be flawed. I don't care how "grief-stricken" he is, he doesn't deserve a lower bail. If he can't make what was set he just has to face the consequences of his actions.

  • miseem Mar 6, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Sure. It's not like he killed anyone or anything, right?

  • Todd Jenkins Mar 6, 2014
    user avatar

    Another gung ho DA wanting excessive bonds…Yep how much is that going to cost the Wake County taxpayers and they guy's never even lived in Wake County. Give the kid a foot brace and detector and a court date...