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Man involved in drag-racing deaths has license revoked

Posted August 26, 2009

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— A Raleigh man who was involved in a drag race on Interstate 540 that killed four teenagers eight years ago pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving and had his license revoked.

Chris Petersen, 25, of 6008 Wintergreen Drive, was sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended to 18 months on probation. The charge stemmed from a May 9 incident.

Chris Petersen during a court apperance on May 29, 2009. Man's history of driving infractions grows

Peterson plans to appeal the sentence, saying he needs to be able to drive. He can continue to drive legally pending the outcome of his appeal.

The case is the latest brush with the law for Peterson over his driving.

In June 2004, he pleaded guilty to four counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and one count of excessive speed in connection with the May 30, 2001, wreck that killed Bryan Reaves, Jamie Brewer, Mike Smith and Matthew Yurcak.

Prosecutors said Petersen was racing with the teens at the time of their deaths. Defense attorneys maintained the teens weren't racing and Petersen wasn't responsible for their deaths.

As part of his probation, Peterson was ordered not to drive for three years. He later served 90 days in jail for violating his probation by driving.

In May, he was given a 45-day suspended sentence and placed on probation for a year after being convicted of a hit-and-run incident last year.

"Chris has paid the price for all those indiscretions. In this particular (DWI) case, that was counted as an aggravating factor," defense attorney Nick Saparilas said. "There's nothing he can do about those things. He's trying to put it behind him."

Because Peterson has been convicted only of misdemeanors in the past, his probationary sentence for driving while impaired is in line with what is typically given in such cases.


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  • IDC Is Lovin Her Life Aug 26, 2009

    "As part of his probation, Peterson was ordered not to drive for three years. He later served 90 days in jail for violating his probation by driving."

    Yeah, a license revocation will definitely do the trick this time!

  • IDC Is Lovin Her Life Aug 26, 2009

    How many chances are they willing to give this murderer/drunk?

    Our judicial system is a joke!

  • boolittlek Aug 26, 2009

    He needs to be able to drive for his job? Was he driving to his job when he committed the hit-and-run? Was he driving to his job when he was pulled over for the DUI?

    Perhaps he and his attorney should read the WRAL.com article "Transit Sees Investment, Ridership Increase." Or better yet, why don't they investigate the many fine employment options available for prisoners? Prison really seems to be the logical path for Petersen (given his repeated offenses and habitual disregard for the law), and hey, there's a bonus--he could walk to work in prison!

  • OSX Aug 26, 2009

    Cold hand warm heart.... They could have backed off too but I see what your saying.

    Everythingticksmeoff.... Gun fight.. Interesting. Now that makes good sense to me. Or better yet, 2 shooters with 5 people behind each shooter. Both shooters don't care about the 5 people standing behind them. One guy shoots with a gun and misses and the other guy shoots with a shotgun and kills everybody. Maybe I am way off here but I think I get it now.

  • Animal Fairy Aug 26, 2009

    People, there is only one thing to say about this travisty. He doesn't deserve to drive. None of his victims can! The obvious issue here is that our court systems are totally dominated by lawyers and loop holes. There has to a judge somewhere who knows how to use the law appropiately and interject wisdom or true right and wrong. Punish accordingly! Those you debating over who was at fault for the drag racing deaths, let's consider if it was your teenager or friend. Can you honestly say you wouldn't feel anger against the other person involved and that they were partially to blame? Come on folks, the "punsihment" he is getting a joke. Judges need more backbone.

  • familyfour Aug 26, 2009

    Small price to pay considering he got out with his life.

  • Rhondagurl Aug 26, 2009

    If he "NEEDS" to be able to drive then he NEEDS to obey the law!

  • readme Aug 26, 2009

    I would be more than happy to have my tax dollars going toward incarcerating this guy for a very long time.

  • rhoda_penmark Aug 26, 2009

    Where are the Archdale police now that we need them?

  • cbarnett Aug 26, 2009

    professor - I doubt you are one as your diction is strange but if he does'nt get to drive and does anyway and gets caught there will not be a 20 year sentence. The only thing that stops habitual unlicensed drivers is jail. They don't get jail. Look at all the habitual drunks that have no license and cause wrecks. What makes you think they don't drive again when they get out? That's what "habitual" means, professor.