Cary man killed in DWI crash remembered; suspect in court on new charges
Posted January 22, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Friends of a man who authorities say was riding his motorcycle when he was killed by a drunken driver have planned a memorial for Saturday as they reel from their unexpected loss.
Raleigh police say Thomas John Anstey, 50, was traveling on Interstate 440 just before 12:30 a.m. Monday when Kiera Jo Sprouse, 23, allegedly hit him in her sedan at an estimated 113 mph and with a blood alcohol content of 0.13.
Investigators arrested her several hours later, and she faces numerous charges, including second-degree murder.
"What we just can't get our minds around is how, after you've made that mistake and you've hit someone, you turn and walk away," Anstey's longtime friend, Jeremy Fisher, said Wednesday.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 100 people had RSVP'd to a Facebook invitation to celebrate Anstey's life at 3 p.m. Saturday at MacGregor Draft House in Cary, where he was a regular customer.
A motorcycle enthusiast and information technology specialist for Caterpillar, Anstey lived in Cary but moved to the area in 1992 from Wisconsin.
He met Fisher about nine years ago.
"He was just that kind of guy that would kill the world with kindness," Fisher said. "He wasn't real charismatic. He wasn't in your face. He was just that guy that everyone knew would do anything for everyone, and he did. He helped a lot of people through a lot of hard times."
Meanwhile Thursday, several of Anstey's friends and coworkers showed up for Sprouse's first court appearance on the murder charge as well as a count of aggravated death by motor vehicle.
She was originally arrested Monday on more than a half-dozen charges, including driving while impaired, hit-and run and failure to reduce speed.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wednesday that the case rose to the level of second-degree murder because of multiple factors, including a 2012 DWI conviction in Groton, N.Y.
"I would have hoped that they would have held off on the second-degree murder charge until everyone had a clearer understanding of what the facts were here," Sprouse's defense attorney, Bill Young, said Thursday.
He would not say why Sprouse might have been driving so fast Monday morning, only that there was more to the case than what's been reported.
Raleigh police said that Sprouse, of 10610 Westgate Club Drive, left her car at the scene of the wreck – near Glenwood Avenue and I-440 – and was arrested approximately 10 miles away at her apartment several hours later.
A neighbor said Thursday that, when she got home from work around 12:45 a.m. Monday, she heard commotion in Sprouse's apartment but did not think anything of it because late-night noise was common.
Sometime later, the neighbor said, she heard banging on Sprouse's door.
Sprouse is a bartender at Carolina Ale House in north Raleigh, but she was not working the night of the wreck, according to the restaurant.
"She was a great friend, and she made a horrible mistake that she is very sorry for," Sprouse's roommate, Katie Hughes, said Tuesday. "She's just a young girl trying to make it in this world."