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UNC tennis star charged with DWI, hitting two pedestrians

Posted August 17, 2008
Updated August 18, 2008

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— A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill star tennis player has been charged with drunken driving in a wreck that hospitalized two fellow students early Sunday.

Police said Chris Kearney, 20, veered off the road in the 200 block of North Columbia Street shortly before 2:30 a.m. His vehicle hit a wall and then struck two women walking on the sidewalk.

The two women were taken to the hospital and had serious but non-life-threatening injuries, UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour said.

"We're very concerned about the two students who were injured. That is our focus right now," Baddour said. "Our prayers are with them and their families right now."

Police charged Kearney with two counts of inflicting personal injury, felony hit-and-run causing personal injury and possessing a fake ID, along with one count each of driving while impaired and consuming alcohol under the age of 21.

He was being held in the Orange County Jail under a secured $50,000 bond on Sunday evening. He was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Kearney, of Irvine, Calif., was the Atlantic Coast Conference 2007 Freshman Player of the Year. He ranks second on the team for singles and doubles victories and was ranked third nationally among doubles players in fall 2007.


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  • OrdinaryCitizen Aug 18, 2008

    "I do not think the answer is prison; something has to be done. Any suggestions?"

    I would prefer a punishment of small jail time, AA meetings(paid by guilty party), community service (alcohol or drug related), Weekly drugs tests (paid by guilty party), possibly a therapist (paid by guilty party).
    I feel treatment would disway many from doing it again and also sorts out the ones who have a big drinking problem.

    After an passing evaluation I feel they should get thier car/license back and insurance rates won't rise. Keep lawyers out as much as possible and keep the courts less busy.

    Do it a second time - big time jail time and lose license forever.

  • clickclackity2 Aug 18, 2008

    Pleading guilty? Actually owning up to an irresponsible crime? Well, what kind of parents does he have? That's certainly unheard of.

  • leaderofthepack Aug 18, 2008

    I doubt anything will happen to this kid due to him being a unc student, nothing ever seems to happen to anybody on the ever growing list of arrests for unc athletes.

  • oldschooltarheel Aug 18, 2008

    Another drunk driver - making news because he is a college boy. Drunks who drive need swift hard consistent unavoidable imprisonment - right from the first infraction. If the penalties are severe enough, even a self-centered drunk won't climb into a car to drive. The drunk would behave like normal people- walk or take a cab... or do some prison work crew time - a couple of years of good old-fashioned NC farm work would be just the thing for the first infraction. let 'em get to know "the jobs Americans won't do".

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 18, 2008

    teacher-mom: Suggestions you ask?

    Hmmm...what did they do to Bush when he was caught snorting cocaine...umm...I mean going AWOL...dern...I mean...driving drunk? Oh yeah, nothing, nothing and...ummm...nothing. So, let's just do nothing.

  • teacher-mom Aug 18, 2008

    What I think happens to many people is they will drink or take some pillsand stay home (or weherever) for a while. Then they get behind the wheel. They think they are ok, but they are not. I think they really believe they are straight. I do not think the answer is prison; something has to be done. Any suggestions?

  • teacher-mom Aug 18, 2008

    If there can be an up side to this, it is that no one was killed. They are all lucky. Too many people are driving while impaired. I hope this does not ruin this young man's life. I hope the young ladies will be ok. You know, we send our children to school to learn. What they do when they get there is another story. I hope he does not drink and drive again.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 18, 2008

    I guess Driving while intoxicated is legal in California - or I think Voting while intoxicated is a requirement in California.

  • alpha Aug 18, 2008

    I agree with Rev RB. Some of us pass JUDGEMENT to quickly. Do we have all the facts or are we just hearing what the media is telling us! "I sincerelly hope that those of you who are passing judgment on this young man and others never have anything bad happen to you or any member of your family or friends." Friends: Where were they? concerned

  • foetine Aug 18, 2008

    we used to have a bar in our dorm campus at NC State. that pretty much cut down any desire to drunk drive. We'd get drunk, order a few pizzas and stumble up the stars when its' time for bed. But then the PRUDE SQUAD banned our bar and booze on campus. And remarkably enough, DWIs involving students spiked. You force people to travel for a drink, they'll do something stupid.

    Shouldn't this be considered Gang Related since he was wearing his team colors?