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Raleigh man gets 10-13 years in prison for fatal St. Patrick's Day crash

Posted May 5, 2014

— A Raleigh man pleaded guilty Monday to killing an elderly couple in a head-on collision on Wade Avenue on St. Patrick's Day last year.

Ray Norman Rouse IV, 35, was sentenced under a plea agreement to 128 to 166 months in prison for two counts of second-degree murder and one count of driving while impaired. His driver's license also was revoked.

Rouse, who remains in a wheelchair almost 15 months after the crash, said little during the 30-minute court hearing.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller said Ormond Jackson Bailey, 83, and his wife, Gaynell Batton Bailey, 79, were on their way home from church to watch the ACC Tournament championship game when Rouse, driving the wrong way on Wade Avenue, slammed into their 2002 Mercury Marquis.

Rouse had been drinking at a Sunday brunch at a Glenwood South restaurant, and other drivers saw him ignore a "No Left Turn" sign on West Street and head west in the eastbound lanes of Wade Avenue, Waller said.

At least two other vehicles were able to avoid Rouse's speeding 2008 Kia Spectra – investigators determined he was traveling at 40 to 45 mph in a 35-mph zone – but the Baileys collided with him on a curve near the Glenwood Avenue interchange, Waller said.

Rouse's blood-alcohol content was measured at WakeMed later that day at 0.21, which is almost three times the 0.08 level at which a driver is considered impaired under North Carolina law. He also had generic Xanax and a second anti-anxiety drug in his system, Waller said.

The prosecutor noted that Rouse was convicted of DWI in Durham County in 2002 and had two other DWI charges dismissed in recent years. He also appeared in a 2012 television interview calling St. Patrick's Day "a beer drinking day" and advocating the use of designated drivers.

"There's certainly a history here, and Mr. Rouse is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving," Waller said.

Defense attorney Matthew Faucette said Rouse has diabetes and has several times in the past gone into diabetic shock while driving when his blood sugar dropped too low. The same thing could have happened before the fatal collision, he said.

The Bailey family said they wanted the plea deal to avoid having to go through a trial.

"This has been very difficult for our entire family," they said in a statement read in court. "We know it also has been very difficult for Mr. Rouse and his family."

Before the plea hearing, Rouse's parents approached the Bailey family and apologized for the crash, adding that they have prayed for the family often during the past year.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens praised the Bailey family for seeking closure through the plea deal and not holding out for a trial and a possible longer prison sentence for Rouse.

"I commend them on their strength to restrain their rage," Stephens said, adding that their parents likely wouldn't have wanted the family consumed by anger.

12 Comments

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  • Edward Levy May 6, 2014

    this career "drunk" got off LIGHT" Well, another case of letting a felon cop a plea. I do not AGREE with the comment by Judge Stephens, he should have gotten life with no chance of parole

  • winemaker81 May 6, 2014

    We are leaving out the defense lawyers who make a specialty of getting DWIs dismissed.

    I'd like to see lawyers take the responsibility for their actions along with the fee.

  • sinenomine May 6, 2014

    DWIs are dismissed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes perhaps part of a plea deal, sometimes because there was a defect in the State's case, sometimes an officer simply never shows up to court or leaves the force and moves away without providing a forwarding address to the department. To blame DAs and judges for each and every dismissal without regard to the circumstances is inane.

  • Walkin Man May 6, 2014

    Penalty way to lenient. He took the lives of two people, and should pay the penalty with life in prison. He's a menace to society, keep him off the streets forever.

  • NO_COMMENT11235813 May 6, 2014

    View quoted thread



    This prison term hopefully will help this man, as well as his current condition from being a driving threat.

    It is beyond sad and tragic that two people were killed because of this.

    I think a lot of DUI's are dismissed to passively by judges and prosecutors.

  • Ben Korman May 6, 2014

    Whatever mechanism it was that provided these dismissals needs to be investigated by the NC SBI.

  • Ben Sanders May 6, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Instead of blaming the judge, let's put the blame on the police officer for either making a bad arrest, or for not following proper procedure, resulting in the charges getting dismissed.

  • Djofraleigh Anderson May 5, 2014

    I'm with WRALMODSAPPPOSTS...WHO dismissed the prior two DUI charges, when that was an opportunity to stop this guy and this from happening. I'm glad he is off the streets shared by the rest of us.

  • Amy Smathers May 5, 2014

    I give the family credit for wanting closure and not retribution

  • Tom Haywood May 5, 2014

    Blood alcohol content of .21 and the defense attorney said he could have gone into diabetic shock with blood sugar too low???? Alcohol is sugar ... that's why diabetics are warned about drinking. If that attorney was quoted correctly, it's about the dumbest thing I've heard an attorney say.

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