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UNC student charged in wrong-way I-85 crash released on bond

Posted July 28, 2015

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— The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student charged with murder after a wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 last week was released from jail Tuesday afternoon.

Chandler Michael Kania's family posted his $1 million bond and left the Orange County jail with him in the back seat. He will be under house arrest at his home in Asheboro, defense attorney Roger Smith Jr. said.

Kania, 20, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on an interstate, careless and reckless driving, driving after consuming alcohol as a minor, possession of alcohol by a minor and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

State Highway Patrol troopers say the rising UNC-Chapel Hill junior was driving north in the southbound lanes near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40 in Orange County on July 19 when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris.

Harris, 49, of Charlotte, her friend Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was seriously injured but has since been released from UNC Hospitals.

Authorities said Kania used a fake ID to drink at two Chapel Hill bars the night before the crash. Friends tried to stop him from getting behind the wheel, but he fought with them, knocking one to the ground, authorities said.

Defense attorneys said Monday that they want to get Kania into an alcohol treatment facility as he recovers from injuries he suffered in the crash.

"Chandler will immediately seek the medical care and physical therapy he needs to recover from the injuries he sustained," Smith said in an email to WRAL News. "Once he has recovered from his injuries and is physically able, he will focus on other areas of treatment. Chandler and the Kania family continue to grieve and mourn for the victims and their families."

33 Comments

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  • Paul Jones Jul 29, 2015
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    There's nobody to blame here, except the driver. Stop trying to blame the world

    Having traveled all over the world, I can definitely tell you that America has an alcohol problem. But thec solution isn't prohibition or raising the drinking age. Rather, the solution should be just the opposite. Most places I travel, it's perfectly fine to have a beer at 16 in public. At home, there's really no age restriction.

    That's not universal, but I'm of the opinion that alcohol is sought because of the attention we give it, because we try to keep kids away from it. Give them a glass of wine at dinner or a bottle of beer. I'll bet the alcohol problem will reduce. Educate about drinking and driving, though. I'm not saying to do that, by any means.

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Jul 29, 2015
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    This is an insult to the family of the victims, of course, to not see him behind bars until trial, but it is just in that it follows the law.

    Now, what do we do to an otherwise good young man who drank too much on purpose and drove on purpose and did this deadly think to innocent people?

    I blame the driver, first. I blame the bars that serve alcohol. (drink at home) I blame the university system that doesn't clamp down on the drinking culture despite their young ages (kick drinkers out of school), and I blame our society for looking the other way in all the cases where someone isn't killed, but still drove a car impaired.

    America has a problem with substances, from pot to beer to pills. Why can't people be happen without chemicals?

    First off, drink and drug at home and leave the rest of us alone. Second, make the tax on alcohol go to fixing the problems caused by alcohol and not to the schools, government projects, etc.
    I'm mad.

  • David Pilley Jul 29, 2015
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    Yes, and it will now take 2 years before having the trial that proves everything we already know about this case.

  • Frank Rizzo Jul 29, 2015
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    normally I would agree with you, but this is not a typical case. there is no doubt who was driving that night. there is no doubt that he had alcohol in his system (you may be able to argue how much but not the presence of alcohol). there is no doubt about which side of the road he was on. and there is no doubt about the outcome of the crash. no police stopped him so you can't argue an unlawful stop. no. I'm afraid in cases like this, you can presume guilt before innocence. not in the courts but in the matter of public opinion..... you betcha. this kid should have stayed in jail if for no other reason than to get time served on his future prison sentence.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 29, 2015
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    Do you know like the fact that it is true. If you admit you have a problem, even if you kill 3 people, you have a chance of getting some leniency. His defense attorneys even said they are going to get him into an alcohol treatment facility.
    This friend of friend works for a company that has zero tolerance for it and he still has job/license because he admitted he had problem and was getting help.

  • Kenny Shletnic Jul 29, 2015
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    Why, Belle, that's great advice! I've heard of many people that get knee-slapping drunk and travel down I-85 going in the wrong direction and slam into a car and kill 3 people just saying "I'm sorry, I have a problem. I would like a do-over please." What have we done all these years without your knowledge & expertise. You should call Chandler Kania & counsel him. I'm sure he and his family would be very appreciative.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 29, 2015
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    What I have heard to get out of something like this/leniency (friend of a friend experience) admit you have a problem and say you are going to get counseling/help.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 29, 2015
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    That is how I feel. I feel that I would be exploiting my child's death and no money would bring him/her back. But some people feel like they should be compensated for the death of loved one (probably people would put it to medical bills/funeral). Everybody is different.

  • Amy Kunkle Jul 29, 2015
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    Just my opinion,
    The drunk driver would pay his/her debt to society through serving a prison sentence. Insurance would cover the damages of the vehicle. Sure, a check would be nice, but that's like putting a price on life. If I was awarded money for a family members death, I don't think I would/could ever spend it because it would hurt too much to know where that money came from; therefore it would probably end up being donated to a charity. I am not monetarily wealthy by any stretch of the imagination and I would love to have a financial windfall, but not this way. Money will not bring back my loved one.

  • Bobby Caudle Jul 29, 2015
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    man there is some sick people making hating comments, we are to love one another no matter what! you hating people keep that attitude and see where it gets ya!

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