Local News

Fake license charge filed against student in wrong-way I-85 crash

Posted August 24, 2015
Updated August 25, 2015

Chandler Michael Kania appears in an Orange County courtroom on July 23, 2015, to face murder charges in a crash on Interstate 85 that killed three people.

— Authorities have filed a new charge against a former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student involved in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 last month that killed three people.

Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, was charged Friday with two counts of obtaining alcohol with a false driver's license.

State Highway Patrol troopers say Kania 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. La Residence and He's Not Here have been cited by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission with selling alcohol to someone under age 21.

Tests showed that Kania had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17, which is more than twice the level at which a driver is considered impaired under North Carolina law. Because Kania is underage, however, any alcohol in his system would have been illegal.

Separate tests also showed that he had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

Kania, who was a rising junior at the time but is no longer enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill, also has been 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.

He is under house arrest awaiting trial.


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  • Steve Sanders Aug 24, 2015
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    Oh that will show him!

  • Rodney Hill Aug 24, 2015
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    Terrible and avoidable tragedy.

    Let this be a lesson to other young adults. One poor decision can literally ruin your life, and in this case END others' lives. It ain't worth it. Take a cab or don't drink unless you have a DD.

    This young man decimated a family with his poor decision and will likely spend the best years of his life in jail.

    Very sad all the way around.

  • Janet Scott Aug 24, 2015
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    It so is 2nd degree murder and then some!! 3 people are dead

  • Lewis Smeltzer Aug 24, 2015
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    As bad as this is - it is not 2nd degree murder.

  • James Grimes Jr. Aug 24, 2015
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    Throw the book at him!