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Cary man killed in DWI crash remembered; suspect in court on new charges

Posted January 22, 2015

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— 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."


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  • Lightfoot On Wral Jan 27, 2015
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    "If there is a need for a nondenominational ordained minister to oversee the memorial service I am available for a small nominal fee. God bless." - I miss Angela

    Wow! Nothing more classy than using the WRAL comment section to advertise your godly services (for a nominal fee of course).

  • Stud and Jack getting hammered Jan 26, 2015

    I hope there was a representative there from the clergy community to say a few words and to pass on some fellowship and bring the word of God to the proceedings. God bless

  • Stud and Jack getting hammered Jan 26, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Thanks for the update. Some were wondering how the event went. God Bless.

  • laurenashlee4 Jan 26, 2015

    Tom, your family of Hooters and the draft house will miss you! Over 200 people came out Saturday just for you! You were an amazing man with a huge heart.

  • mckangst Jan 25, 2015

    Was there a blood-alcohol post-mortem done on Tom? If not, there could be grounds for court dismissal based solely on that. If he swerved in front of her due to drinking, she may be guilty only of speeding in this particular case. If diligence wasn't done in measuring his blood alcohol levels, then the facts were not correctly gathered.

    I'm not judging anyone in particular here, I'm just saying that just because one person comes out worse than the others based on injuries doesn't mean their alcohol level contributed less to the problem. Anytime a bike and car collide, the bike will lose, end of story. There is spectulation/evidence she was speeding and drinking. Do we know he wasn't drinking as well and slammed on the breaks or steered into her?

  • John Smith Jan 23, 2015
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    if I was mourning my friend I sure wouldn't suggest doing it at an establishment that promotes the very thing that killed him, although if i did I would be taking the time to justify how my mourning at a bar is more responsible than the woman that killed him because I will just drink a couple and drive because that is ok but the person that drank and killed my buddy is trash. I sure wouldn't do that. that is exactly what people did when some brought up the weirdness of the memorial and the fact the gentleman was a regular at a bar, and people that go there all the time jumped up to say, he and they are different, they only have a couple so it is ok.

  • Kimmy Baldwin Jan 23, 2015
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    AND? Does it matter? Why does it matter to you? Just because you can comment, doesn't mean you should comment. They are grieving for someone they loved. Let them say whatever they want to say and let it go. What does it bring to the discussion other than anger and hurt feelings at time when they already endure heartache and loss. The things that have been said about this gentleman is disgusting and inappropriate. I hope you all never lose a loved one in a public fashion and have to endure the relentless judgment of the anonymous masses found in this putrid collection of hubris.

  • John Smith Jan 23, 2015
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    you would be correct and no one was commenting really at all about it until people that go to the draft house started talking about the only 1 or 2 drinks as they talk about death of the suspect that killed him that probably had or is going to say 1 or 2 drinks.

  • Kimmy Baldwin Jan 23, 2015
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    I can't believe I have to say this. A man died. His friends and family are mourning. This comment section is full of people judging him and his friends choice to have a gathering to remember him at bar they frequent. How about you keep your narrow-minded, judgmental decisions to yourself and let these people mourn their loved one how they see fit. Making assumptions about someone is ignorant and brutish. Have a little respect for people and keep your opinions to yourself.

  • John Smith Jan 23, 2015
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    you mean millions drive and don't get caught is more like it. I'm not defending the girl but to watch people go after her then claim the usual two they have when someone points out the irony of them having memorial at a draft house then defending by the it is ok because we drink two is a bunch of you know what