Local News

Mother forgives driver fined $25 for fatal crash

Posted August 6, 2015

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A teen driver has been ordered to pay a $25 fine for using a cellphone while driving two years ago in a crash that killed an East Carolina University student from Raleigh.

Mitchell Grey Wilkerson, now 19, originally was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in the May 20, 2013, crash. Greenville police said his Ford F-250 pickup crossed the center line on East Arlington Boulevard and slammed into a Honda Accord driven by Elizabeth Griffiths, 20. The senior accounting major was trapped in the car and died at Vidant Medical Center.

The case ended in a mistrial in February when the judge handling the case realized he knew a potential witness. A second mistrial occurred in June when jurors voted 11-1 for acquittal. That prompted a plea deal to the cellphone charge to resolve it.

Wilkerson was 17 at the time of the crash, and state law prohibits anyone younger than 18 from using a cellphone while driving.

"You mean to tell me my daughter's life was only worth $25?" an upset Sharon Carter said Thursday.

Carter said Pitt County prosecutors told her they didn't want to try the case a third time because they didn't think they could win a conviction.

"I felt like they should try the case again," she said. "I still want justice because I don’t feel like justice has been served."

Griffiths, who went by "Lizz," was Carter's only daughter and the youngest of her three children.

"Losing her has had a great impact on my life. There are some days that are still difficult, but it’s getting easier as time goes by," she said. "I don’t think there was a person who knew her who didn’t love her."

Carter said Wilkerson has never apologized to her for her daughter's death, but she said she had to forgive him.

"Because I need to have peace in my life and because I need to move forward, the forgiveness that he will never ask for has already been granted," she said. "I have to trust and believe that the God I serve has a better plan, that he has a purpose and, although it may not have worked out the way I wanted it to, all things work to good in God's eyes."

35 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Gabrielle Williams Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    Look how he is acting like he could care less in the video. I bet the DA didn't have a comment. Utterly sickening. No remorse at all. This mother is a praying woman and you can see her faith in her. I pray to get there.

  • Gabrielle Williams Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME $25.00. I AM SICK TO MY STOMACH.

  • Teresa Engel Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    The first mistrial was declared because the judge "found out" he was associated with one of the litigants. I don't recall whether it was the defendant or the prosecution. The second mistrial was declared due to the jury being deadlocked.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Yea I read that too, but I didn't post it. Now prosecutors represent the state and the people. There is no need for a private prosecutor in a criminal proceedings.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    They part about the mistrials wasn't on there until after I posted this. This someone else commented on why there were mistrials.

  • Brian Hill Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    At one point, there were private prosecutions. Prior to the advent of public prosecutors in the late 19th century, it was standard procedure for the victim of a crime or their next of kin to prosecute the case themselves.

    However, such prosecutions are now outlawed in most states, including North Carolina (see State v. Best).

  • Lewis Smeltzer Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    Sometimes accidents are just that. We are all guilty of distracted driving at some point.

  • Cary Tom Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Read!! NO jury deadlocked. Sheesh..

    The case ended in a mistrial in February when the judge handling the case realized he knew a potential witness. A second mistrial occurred in June when jurors voted 11-1 for acquittal. That prompted a plea deal to the cellphone charge to resolve it.
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/driver-fined-25-in-crash-that-killed-ecu-student/14814704/#sqCIArH5JEgMtzjH.99

  • Belle Boyd Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    In criminal proceedings you really don't hire private prosecutors because the prosecutor on the case represents all the people in that county/state. http://www.citruscollege.edu/stdntsrv/studentdean/ab1088/Pages/CriminalandCivilProsecution.aspx

  • Charlie Watkins Aug 7, 2015
    user avatar

    Might have been a little more harsh punishment for taking a life if the family could have afforded to hire a private prosecutor.

    There are high powered lawyers who will prosecute as well as defend.

More...