Local News

Suspect In Fatal Wreck Could Be Charged As Habitual Offender

Posted February 15, 2005

— A man charged in an alcohol-related wreck that killed a grandmother this weekend has numerous previous DWI convictions, authorities said.

A Durham woman was killed during the car crash on Saturday in which authorities have charged the other driver with second-degree murder.

Kenneth Maready, 42, who was released after suffering minor injuries in the wreck, is in jail without bond. He faces a laundry list of charges including second-degree murder in connection with the death of a Durham woman, Kay Stokes.

Court records show Maready has four prior DWI convictions -- two in Wake County and two in Durham.

Richard Wills, Stokes' relative, feels the justice system is simply too soft on drunken drivers.

"They kind of get a slap on the wrist and are turned loose again. They spend some time in prison, but it doesn't stop them," he said.

Investigators say that during Saturday's wreck, Maready was drunk, had a revoked license and was driving a stolen car.

Durham County deputies tried to stop him.

"He told them he wasn't going back to prison, hit the gas, he went down the road," said trooper John Tribble of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

When Maready's car hit Stokes' truck on Stallings Road on Saturday, she was ejected from the vehicle along with her 5-year-old granddaughter, Courtney, who survived, police said.

"She's doing just fine," said Calvin Parrott, Kay Stokes' brother. "She's asking about her grandma and we'll just have to deal with that the best we can."

Authorities said that a chase had not ensued when the wreck happened.

"It was not a chase," Chase said. "At that point they had not even caught back up to him."

A passenger in Maready's car, Ronald Jones, 51, is in critical condition at Duke hospital.

Maready, who also goes by the last name Morrow, has convictions for other crimes in Durham, Wake, Chatham and Alamance counties. The district attorney's office will be looking at the possibility of charging him in this case as a habitual felon. He has a court appearance Tuesday morning.

Editor's note: WRAL has learned Maready has nine prior DWI counties instead of four, which was previously reported


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