Local News

Harnett teen gets prison time for wreck that killed girlfriend

Posted April 23, 2012

— A Harnett County teenager pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter in a 2010 wreck that killed his girlfriend at a Walmart store between Dunn and Erwin.

Dillon Tart's parents and defense attorneys contend he must have had a seizure – he had a history of the attacks – and that he did not intentionally drive his Chevrolet Blazer erratically through the Walmart parking lot and crash it into the store. His passenger, 16-year-old Ashley Moore, was a junior at Triton High School in Dunn.

Dr. Rukmini Menon, with East Carolina University Neurology, testified for the defense that she diagnosed Tart with epilepsy. He had two seizures in November 2007 and July 2008 and was not on an anti-seizure medication at the time of the wreck, she said.

Ashley Moore (left) and Dillon Tart Teachers: Tart's actions out of character

Prosecutors showed video of Tart's crash and said that witnesses claimed to see the teens arguing heatedly inside the SUV shortly before the wreck.

"It would have been no different had he brought out a gun and shot her," state Deputy Attorney General Hal Akins said.

Teachers and friends testified Monday that the couple was in love, and they saw no signs of problems between them. One teacher called Tart a good student who adored his girlfriend.

Defense attorneys hoped that evidence of Tart's medical condition would lessen his sentence, and they got their wish, although he will serve jail time. He was sentenced to between four-and-a-half and up to seven years in prison.


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  • Scubagirl May 2, 2012

    Since the article says he WAS NOT ON MEDS for his seizure disorder I doubt he had a doctors 'excuse'.

    And as to it could be any of us.....yes it could, but in this instance it was him.

    It is a very sad story, maybe some will learn from it.

  • jrwaterway Apr 26, 2012

    He should have killed himself instead, would have save the taxpayers alot of money and that beautiful girls family a whole lot of grief a lifetime worth.

  • sarahanne2 Apr 25, 2012

    Connie Leigh's Info is incredibly telling. I am sad that both lives are ruined by this, however. I have a hard time believig in Dillon's story after hearing the information that Connie Leigh shared as her story unfortantely all works together too well with too many substantiating pieces. How can so many people witness all of these items and then have there be a totally different story presented by Dillon and his attorney's---it just doesn't make sense to me!

  • snowdog2112yyz Apr 25, 2012

    He shouldn't have gotten off so easy. What a shame. He was just trying to be all big and bad, scare his girlfriend and killed her in the process. Having a seizure, people can up with anything when their hindend is on the line. They say he cried in court. Only because he is going to prison. I hate it for the girls family. dillon will get out in 4 years, of course his family and supporters will have a party for him, lots of hugs and pity. He will of course find a girl, date, go to the beach, enjoy Christmas and of course his birthday and what a special day that is huh?? He'll live a happy life. Of course in his mind, he is not a murderer..he is a victim of his medical condition, poor dillon. Ashley never had chance.....

  • pebbles262004 Apr 25, 2012

    I really do think that he was trying to kill them both!! JMO

  • pebbles262004 Apr 25, 2012

    so glad that he will have to pay for what he did...

  • TRUTH01 Apr 24, 2012

    it really amazes me that some people on here can actually say the stuff they have said about all this... first I know dillon and i know he would never do anything in this world to hurt anybody and there is noone on this earth that can make me think otherwise... second , i want you all to really think about this . if prosecuters actually had the evidence to charge him with 2nd degree murder then why in the world would THEY offer HIM a plea deal ?? think about that

  • anotheropinion281 Apr 24, 2012

    its just difficult to believe that was "truly" diagnosed with epilepsy at the beginning..maybe there was speculation from the drs..and tests were given later followed by meds..that doesn't matter now though..
    If Ashley was in the process of questioning or breaking up with him, its not out of the realm of possibility that he would try to commit suicide/murder. We will never know the real truth of what truly happened that day but he will live each day for the rest of his life knowing what he did.

  • Alexia.1 Apr 24, 2012


    "well if he does have a 'medical condition',why was he NOT on medication??"

    Ask the doctors. Apparently, this is a fact, not a fabrication.

    "he should not have been driving without seizure meds."

    Maybe, maybe not. Again, this the decision for a doctor to make.

    "there was too many witnesses that overheard them arguing."

    Yeah, and I believe them. Traveling at what speed they are able to hear an argument and even specific words said? I can believe they heard noise, but that's all I can believe.

    "I feel he got lucky with the alford plea..I personally believe he deserves far more time than he got."

    I don't know the boy, but I doubt he intended to kill himself or her. By every account, it was an accident, even if the accident was due to stupid driving decisions. There's no good reason to send every person to jail in cases like this.

    America, The land with highest incarceration rates. So proud.

  • anotheropinion281 Apr 24, 2012

    well if he does have a "medical condition",why was he NOT on medication?? he should not have been driving without seizure meds. there was too many witnesses that overheard them arguing. I feel he got lucky with the alford plea..I personally believe he deserves far more time than he got.