Local News

Repeat Drunk Driver Back in Jail for Fatal Accident

Posted January 17, 1999

— Cumberland County's District Attorney attended a first court appearance Tuesday morning to help prevent a repeat drunk driver from being set free again.

When Antonio Speranza hit the road Sunday night, he had a previous drunk driving conviction under his belt, and another DWI pending.

Police say Speranza was intoxicated again when he got behind the wheel and got into the accident that killed Danny McCray Deavers.

There is not much left of the Harley Davidson that Deavers was riding when he was hit head on by a truck driven by Speranza.

Investigators say Speranza was drunk and high on drugs.

"He just missed three motorcycles that were in front of that one and killed the motorcycle rider instantly," said Chief Gil Campbell of the Spring Lake Police Department.

Police say Speranza had stolen two beers from a convenience store just minutes before the wreck.

The clerk on duty says Speranza had only four cents on him and looked very drunk.

"We've arrested this person for drug abuse. He is an admitted drug abuser. We think there was a combination of things that went on to cause this accident," said Campbell.

Speranza is now facing second-degree murder charges.

"It could have been your mother out there. It could have been mine. It could have been anyone in my family and that to me is alarming. This person just does not get it. He's not capable of driving," said Campbell.

Speranza was being held in the Cumberland County jail Monday under $60,000 bond. Someone posted that bond for him, and he was released from jail.

At Tuesday morning's appearance, the DA asked that bond be set at one million dollars. The judge decided to set it at $500,000.

Even if bond is posted, there are stipulations that would probably prevent Speranza from driving.

North Carolina's new drunk driving laws took effect in December of 1997.

Under that law, anyone charged with drunk driving can automatically lose his or her license for 30 days.

Anyone charged with DWI while driving without a license can lose the car, even if it belongs to someone else.

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