Local News

Driver charged in Nash County collision that killed woman, child

Posted March 12, 2013
Updated March 13, 2013

— A suspected drunk driver involved in a head-on collision that killed a Nash County woman and her young son has been charged in connection with their deaths, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Stacey Lee Deans, 26, was charged Tuesday with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle in the wreck that killed Lashunaqua "Cocoa" Cooper, 21, and Jiquel Copeland, 3. He was placed in the Nash County jail under a $20,000 bond and is due in court Thursday morning.

Troopers said Deans, who is in the military and recently returned from deployment overseas, was driving on South Church Street around 9:30 p.m. Monday when he crossed the center line, about a half-mile from Cooley Road between Rocky Mount and Sharpsburg, and struck Cooper's car.

Cooper and the child died instantly, troopers said. 

"I heard the impact," said Larry Wilcox, who lives across the street from the crash. "There wasn't any tires sliding before that, just the impact – loud, hard."

Jiquel was in a safety seat, but it was not properly installed, and he was ejected from the car, troopers said. Cooper was wearing a seat belt.

"I went over to the car and shouted out, (but) didn't get any response," Wilcox said. "As bad as it was tore up, I didn't want to look real hard. At that time, the child was in front of the car." 

Nash fatal crash witness heard loud, hard impact Nash fatal crash witness heard 'loud, hard' impact

Deans and his twin brother, Tracey Deans, who was a passenger in the truck, were treated for minor injuries at Nash General Hospital and released.

Troopers said they found beer cans in Stacey Deans' truck and believe alcohol was a factor in the wreck.

"If you're going to drink, stay at home," said family friend Katisha Lynch. "Don't get behind the wheel because there are people's lives you are putting in danger."

Lynch visited the wreck site Tuesday afternoon.

"I just started crying," she said. "It was just so sad. It's a heartbreaking story."

At Andy's Restaurant in Sharpsburg, where Cooper used to work, her co-workers remembered her smile.

"She always had a smile on her face," said David Brown, Cooper's former boss.


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  • kspoling Mar 20, 2013

    keeping tight lipped on this one, perhaps he hadnt been drinking

  • camhamsmom Mar 19, 2013

    What's the latest on this story? I thought we'd at least know if he was drunk or not by now.

  • kspoling Mar 19, 2013

    if the officers where doing their job, it wouldnt be suspected of drinking and driving, they would have done tests to determine if they had been drinking.

  • ginufine3011 Mar 15, 2013

    This needs repeated a dozen times!!: "And those who do drink and drive should be charged with Murder One, because they knew when they took that first drink they were going to drive, and that's premeditation in my mind." AMEN! Timetogo March 12, 2013 5:44 p.m. Report abuse

    Just alcohol? What about sleepy drivers? They kill just as many. So if Im sleepy and drive that could be premeditated murder? How do we test for sleepy drivers? - vinylcarwraps23

    It's illegal to drink and drive above 0.08...it's not illegal to drive tired or sleepy. So your point is invalid. I don't condone driving while sleepy, but how else are you suppose to get home, after working a 8, 12, or a 15hr. shift?! When I begin feeling tired while driving, I take to the house, or find a safe resting spot, if I'm not near my home or a hotel.

  • heisenberg Mar 14, 2013

    rk1115, I can honestly say that I do not act as a DD for others and leave empty beer cans in my car and then continue to drive around with them. I didn't see where this guy was acting as a DD though. However, I will take you at your word that you don't drink and drive - but I think we all know what the results of this investigation will eventually show.

  • rk1115 Mar 13, 2013

    heisenberg- "if you have empty beer cans in your car - you drink and drive"

    Are you for real? you never drived sober (DD) for someone, and they left beer cans in your car? Unless being a DD has changed, I've never drink and drive. But yes I do have empty cans in my car, which I know is against the law, but by no means does that indicate I'm driving drunk.

  • rk1115 Mar 13, 2013

    Pepe Silvia - "Wow that's something to brag about... what reason (since you claim you aren't a drunk driver) would you have for having empty beer cans in your car?"

    I have friends that sit in my car, while I drive sober (DD) and they drink. They leave the cans in my car.

    Against the law? yeah, but who hasn't broken any laws before?

  • MrsPage1989 Mar 13, 2013

    I hate it for everyone involved.

  • mewuvbb Mar 13, 2013

    So Terrible and so Tragic, for everyone. PEOPLE DON"T DRINK AND DRIVE STAY OFF THE ROAD This is JUST SENSELESS

  • godshelper Mar 13, 2013

    "PTSD is something serious (you don't just forget seeing your best friend blown up)"

    Save it really, We don't care that he has PTSD, he wasn't drafted to go to war. He chose that career. If he can't handle the trauma of war, then he should have joined the Peace Corp. Enough with the excuses for this young man. Whether his friend got blown up or his whole battalion did doesn't matter. We want justice. I have no sympathy for him. Had this been the Vietnam War and he was drafted without any say so and he suffered PTSD, I may feel sorry for him but since that was not the case. He needs to man up and deal with life and stop destructing everyone elses life (like the family of this woman and child). He can destroy his life all he wants but don't come home with issues and ride the roads killing women and children.