Local News

Driver charged in Fayetteville wreck that killed two

Posted August 12, 2011

— The 17-year-old driver of an SUV that flipped in Fayetteville last weekend, killing two passengers, was charged Friday in their deaths.

Bryanna Hamilton faces two counts each of felony death by motor vehicle and felony assault by motor vehicle, police said. She was already charged with driving while impaired, speeding, careless and reckless driving and driving without a license.

Hamilton was released into her mother's custody Friday afternoon after posting a $66,500 bond.

"Anytime that you have alcohol and death, you're automatically looking at manslaughter, felony-type charges," said Sgt. Eric Dow of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Seven people were in a Nissan Pathfinder early last Saturday when it hit a curb on Rosehill Road and overturned, police said.

Denzel Graves, 16, of Spring Lake, died at the scene, and Cheyanna Cummings, 18, of Hope Mills, died Sunday afternoon at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Neither Graves nor Cummings was wearing a seat belt, police said.

Warrants state that Hamilton's blood-alcohol level was 0.14, or nearly twice the level at which drivers are considered impaired under North Carolina law. The Pathfinder also was going 55 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to warrants.

"I don't think you could put anything else in this to make it more, well, not a good recipe, but a recipe for disaster," Dow said.

One person died in a crash on Rosehill Road near Hickory Hill Road in Fayetteville early Saturday. Driver charged in Fayetteville wreck that killed two

Hamilton and four other passengers – Alya Shaw, 19, Chyna Harris, 18, Benyetta Nicholas, 17, and Isaiah Nicholas, 14, all from Spring Lake – were injured in the wreck.

"Bryanna is really beat up from the accident, but she's more beat up mentally," Hamilton's mother, Letresa Lilly, said Monday. "She's hurting. She and Chey were like sisters."

Lilly said she wasn't sure where the teens were headed when the wreck happened, but Fayetteville police say that Hamilton was on her way back to a birthday party at a house off Ramsey Street. She had left the party earlier to pick up others who were in the car, police said.

David Williams, a spokesman with the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, said charges are expected Monday against people involved with the party. A 20-year-old woman lives at the party house, and there's no indication that any parents were present for the party.

No one was at the house on Friday.

70 Comments

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  • driverkid3 Aug 15, 9:22 a.m.

    I hope the parents of the two kids that she murdered sue her for everything she and her family has, or ever will have. It sounds like some people want to excuse her actions because she is a 17 year old. That's BS. Dr. Cook should be serving the rest of his life in prison, this one shoud also.

  • RKBA Aug 12, 7:54 p.m.

    It's all fun until someone gets hurt.

    "
    As the driver she should have told them to buckle up or get out of her vehicle."

    Uh... that's probably not too likely coming from a drunk unlicensed driver, ya think?

  • james27613 Aug 12, 5:32 p.m.

    The passengers that did not survive did not use their
    seat belts.

    As the driver she should have told them to buckle up or get out of her vehicle.

    Sad that two more young lives were lost.

    Only if she did not get in that suv, make a call, get
    another licensed driver to make the trip.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 12, 5:22 p.m.

    N&O, thanks for including the picture of the driver.
    BobLoblaw
    August 12, 2011 4:51 p.m.
    Picture of driver been posted here on WRAL all afternoon.

  • mfarmer1 Aug 12, 4:55 p.m.

    >> there's no indication that any parents were present.

    Where were they?

  • BobLoblaw Aug 12, 4:51 p.m.

    @BobLoblaw, she is a minor... - landshark

    Landshark, she is not a minor as far as the criminal law is concerned. You are charged as an adult if 16 or over. As well, the story included a picture of the 16-yo victim.

    N&O, thanks for including the picture of the driver.

  • wakemom Aug 12, 4:31 p.m.

    ""She PREVIOUSLY was charged with driving while impaired, speeding, careless and reckless driving and driving without a license.""

    ???????????

    And someone handed her some keys again?!?!!!?? LOCK THEM UP TOO! If she didnt learn her lesson the first time, shame on her! I bet she has learned it this time. Such a shame that it costs her friends their lives. I'm sure that she is suffering right now, and she may never heal from knowing what she has done. I just pray that she gets her act together this go around. Con Amor brings luv and laughter , those were the initial chargesfor the accident!
    tmed1938

    those were the charges before the new ones

  • tmed1938 Aug 12, 4:22 p.m.

    ""She PREVIOUSLY was charged with driving while impaired, speeding, careless and reckless driving and driving without a license.""

    ???????????

    And someone handed her some keys again?!?!!!?? LOCK THEM UP TOO! If she didnt learn her lesson the first time, shame on her! I bet she has learned it this time. Such a shame that it costs her friends their lives. I'm sure that she is suffering right now, and she may never heal from knowing what she has done. I just pray that she gets her act together this go around.
    Con Amor brings luv and laughter
    , those were the initial chargesfor the accident!

  • jellybeanz Aug 12, 4:15 p.m.

    "The adult of the party is more at fault than the driver. Don't let her wear this alone. MAKE A EXAMPLE OUT OF THE PARTY THROWER."

    What makes you think an adult threw this party?

    Last I heard that was going to happen and also the person who sold her alcohol at a convenience store.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 12, 4:15 p.m.

    Raymond Cook was sentenced to only 2 years after his DUI resulted in the death of an innocent victim. If we compare these two cases, how should this driver be charged?
    luxurytravel
    August 12, 2011 1:15 p.m.
    Not the way our system works, they do judge and taken into account several things. Read any court docket in the paper and you would see this. I'm betting she'll not serve time, but serious probation, community sevice, record for life and no driver license for awhile.

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