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Family of accused UNC student 'devastated' by fatal crash

Posted July 22, 2015

Chandler Michael Kania
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— The family of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student accused of killing three people in a weekend crash on Interstate 85 spoke for the first time Wednesday about the wreck.

In a statement issued through Raleigh attorney Roger Smith Jr., the family of Chandler Michael Kania said they are "absolutely devastated about this tragedy" and that their "hearts, prayers and thoughts" are with the victims' families.

State Highway Patrol troopers say Kania, 20, of Asheboro, was driving north in the southbound lanes near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40 in Orange County early Sunday when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris.

Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and two of her three passengers, Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck.

Jahnia King, 9, who was in the back of Harris' vehicle, was in good condition Tuesday at UNC Hospitals.

Baird was Harris' granddaughter, and King was her youngest daughter.

Kania is charged with 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.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol plans to file various felony charges against him upon his release from UNC Hospitals, where he is being treated for two broken ankles and other injuries suffered in the fiery Sunday morning crash.

Smith said Kania, a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, is cooperating with the investigation of the crash and would continue to do so.

16 Comments

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  • Sean Creasy Jul 23, 2015
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    I'm sure they are devastated... But only by how much it's going to cost to get junior out of this mess... Maybe they should let him have to come up with the money on his own and then he will understand that when you make tragic mistakes in life you have to face the consequences yourself... Mommy and Daddy aren't toting the punishment for you... But I doubt that will happen in this case...

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Jul 22, 2015
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    Of course the family is devastated by this, both for their son and for the family he hurt. This would be news if they felt otherwise. I'm sure the student, the young man, is too, now that he is sober.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    They do need to make stricter laws regarding drunk driving especially when the kill someone. It does upset me when people are killed by drunk drivers,but the drivers just get off like nothing happened and go and do it again

  • Jeremy Reese Jul 22, 2015
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    Opinions are great, but that's all they are. Each time something like this happens, I'm let down by the justice system. This guy owes for many lives he's destroyed. He needs to man up and take what's coming, or move to another country.

  • Janet Scott Jul 22, 2015
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    His lawyer is brilliant, that's why. It's his job to win the case.

  • Jason Starcommand Jul 22, 2015
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    I see his lawyer had him delete his facebook. Wonder why. Oh and putting 'devastated' in quotes can mean they really aren't.

  • Ashley Baker Jul 22, 2015
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    What is so scary is he gets him off and what are the odds that he will do it again?? Maybe not kill someone again but drink and drive.

  • William Cosby Jul 22, 2015
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    Because he's a spoiled rich kid and this type of pampering behavior is what led to this tragic accident in the first place. Perhaps he should go with the affluenza defense here.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    Because they probably have the money to pay Smith to get their son off or get it down to lesser charges.

  • Janet Scott Jul 22, 2015
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    Roger Smith Jr. is the best. Why is this family paying that amount of money to get their son off. Let him go to jail!!!! I will also say that this family did not apologize until their attorney told them to do so...that holds no weight with me. To this family...too little, too late. Your son killed a child.

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