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Driver dead, passenger injured after car crashes into house

Posted August 20, 2010

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— A 20-year-old man died and a 19-year-old man was in critical condition after they crashed into a house at 1911 Tryon Road in Raleigh around midnight.

Max Bratton of Holly Springs died at the scene, according to troopers. His passenger, Ethan Herring of Raleigh, was taken to WakeMed with critical injuries.

Troopers said that they believe excessive speed was a factor and that Bratton was driving about 60 to 65 mph in a 45-mph zone. His BMW M5M was traveling on a wet road, came around a corner, crashed into a fence with brick pylons, went airborne and smashed into the house, sending the carport crashing down.

Alcohol was found in Herring's system, and authorities said they are trying to determine if Bratton had been drinking as well.

The owners of the house, C. H. "Tink" and Dona Thomas, said the crash sounded like an explosion. They were not harmed, but their property sustained major damage, including three broken windows, holes in the siding and sheet wall, two holes and a leak in the roof and a crushed carport.

A neighbor, Theresa Clowers, said Friday's crash marked the ninth time someone has crashed into her fence.

The Thomases had just returned from a trip in which Dona Thomas' mother had gotten sick and died. The couple had been driving all day back from Florida and had just gone to bed when they heard the car hit their house.  

Friends say Bratton "was an amazing guy" who always had a smile on his face. He was enrolled at Wake Technical Community College and loved his BMW, they said.

"I can't imagine what he went through," said friend Jonathan Doss, who came to the scene of the crash to see if for himself. "I hate it for everyone, for the family and everybody that was close to him."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jasonb210 Aug 23, 2010

    Pseud, mind your business.

  • Pseudonym Aug 20, 2010

    Quote from jasonb210: "Ncmedic - when this happens to both of your sons I'll be the first to comment."

    You go ahead and do that if it makes you feel better. I can guarantee you that if ncmedic is like me, he won't care what you think, because he'll be too busy planning 2 funerals. If it happens, God forbid.

  • dapdave321 Aug 20, 2010

    I'd also like to just throw this out there. The taxi's in this area are VERY UNRELIABLE. Perhaps there could be a state government run taxi service that will show up when you call them.

  • dapdave321 Aug 20, 2010

    From what I understand, the state of North Carolina's legal consequences for drinking and driving are harsher than most states, but I feel that they are not harsh enough. How about installing a government issued breathalizer after the 1st offense? To me, drinking and driving is just as dangerous as waving around a loaded gun. Something definitely needs to change. There is no good reason to operate a vehicle when you are intoxicated. As someone who is pretty familiar with the local bar scene, I've seen it happen way too often. I ALWAYS get a ride from a friend or a taxi after a night of drinking... I really don't see why other people can't do the same. It is rather ridiculous to be honest with you.

    Someone lost their life because of poor judgement. Very unfortunate.

    R.I.P. Max.

  • cocker_mom Aug 20, 2010

    I don't think this is a rich kid issue - it's a bad decision, made by a young man that simply hadn't had enough age and wisdom yet.

    I think if we all look back at your youth - we've done things that surely the older and wiser person we have become would blast the young person that makes the same decision today

    Its simply not fair.

    We've all lived in a glass house at one time or another.

    It's a terrible thing that one man lost his life and another clings to his on the bad decision of youth. But it's happened since the beginning of time - and I am not sure you can ever fix it.

    My high school homeroom teacher had a sign in his class - "Quick - leave home now while you still know EVERYTHING!"

  • jasonb210 Aug 20, 2010

    Ncmedic - when this happens to both of your sons I'll be the first to comment.

  • colliedave Aug 20, 2010

    It's about coming together and being their for his loved ones and family. And praying for Ethan. You're all just really sad.

    No it is not; this is a news blog and not something run by the funeral home. How about some justified anger towards the **actions** of someone who carelessly caused his own death, serious injury to a friend, and major property damage to an innocent owner's house. Aparently, he didn't learn his lesson from a previous speeding ticket and his parents allowed him to drive a high-performance car.

  • ASU Aug 20, 2010

    A State Trooper stopped this guy for going 104 MPH and he loss his license for a year. I guess he didn't learn his lesson.

  • ConcernedNC12 Aug 20, 2010

    I have read the comments periodically today and have hesitated in commenting. There are no really new words to say about this tragedy. I did not know these two young men - but my daughter did and unfortunately they were coming from a party right down the road when this happened. Why they didn't make a decision to stay and sleep it off or call a cab we will never know. What we do know is that one young man is dead and I understand the other is in a coma. If their friends can learn something from this then maybe at least one life can be saved. Sometimes it takes losing someone close to you for you to realize that "yes" it CAN happen to me. Two familes and countless friends have been affected by this and are left to comfort each other at this terrible time. I hope all who know them will reach out to them in the coming days. They will need your support.

  • Adelinthe Aug 20, 2010

    Psue - "Just don't say "It must have been God's will" to the family at the visitation if you're going to lecture the rest of us about being insensitive."

    I agree.

    God doesn't wish or will any of us to be dead because while we're still living, we can help one another and witness The Word.

    Saying, "I'm so sorry for your loss" is quite enough.

    God bless.