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Sister of I-85 crash victim: Accused UNC student selfish

Posted July 21, 2015
Updated July 22, 2015

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— A new charge was filed Tuesday afternoon against a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student accused of killing three people in a weekend crash on Interstate 85.

Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of 847 Anns Court in Asheboro, is now charged with driving the wrong way on an interstate. He previously was charged with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, driving after consuming alcohol as a minor, possession of alcohol by a minor and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol plans to file various felony charges against him upon his release from UNC Hospitals, where he is being treated for two broken ankles and other injuries suffered in the fiery Sunday morning crash.

Troopers say Kania was driving north in the southbound lanes near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40 in Orange County when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris.

Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and two of her three passengers, Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck.

Jahnia King, 9, who was in the back of Harris' vehicle, was in good condition Tuesday at UNC Hospitals.

Baird was Harris' granddaughter, and King was her youngest daughter.

Connie McGee said Tuesday that her eldest sister, Harris and the two girls were headed back to Charlotte from an annual memorial service in Virginia for McGee's mother, who died nine years ago.

"Oh my goodness, my sister was everything," Connie McGee told WRAL News in a phone interview from her home in Baltimore. "She was the voice for the family. If anything was going on, big sis had it."

She said she's been numb ever since Maryland state troopers knocked on her front door Sunday to tell her about the I-85 crash and her sister's death.

Anger against Kania is breaking through that grief, however.

"What were you thinking? Obviously, you weren't thinking," a sobbing Connie McGee said when asked what she would say to Kania. "You chose to drink and drive. That was your choice."

A rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, Kania is cooperating with authorities investigating the crash and how and where he obtained alcohol.

"He had his whole life ahead of him, but he chose to drive drunk," Connie McGee said. "You're a selfish young man."

Kania's family declined a request for an interview.

Darlene McGee was carrying her mother's ashes back to Charlotte in Harris' car, and Connie McGee said her family hopes to recover at least a portion of the urn.

"My sister didn't even see it coming," she said. "Drunk drivers are always the ones that stay alive. ... It's not fair, not fair at all."

16 Comments

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  • Johan Summer Jul 22, 2015
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    My sincerest prayers remain with both families. This was a preventable tragedy, and one that will remain with both families forever.

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    You know what you lose first when you drink?...your judgement

  • Belle Boyd Jul 22, 2015
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    Drunk drivers can kill someone and get off easy. I've seen it before. They should charge him with murder like the street racer in JoCo. But they will probably go easy on him because it was his first offense, he made a mistake kind of thing. But yes he should be charged with murder.

  • William Cosby Jul 22, 2015
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    I have a feeling this kid is going to wet his pants in the courtroom.

  • Paul Jones Jul 22, 2015
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    Hit submit too soon...

    He made a choice to drink, but can we say as drunk as he was that he made the choice to drive. I have seen drunk people. Their ninds are not present when truly drunk.

  • Paul Jones Jul 22, 2015
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    The results are unfortunate, but I do question whether he made a "choice". There are people who are legally drunk and wouldn't drive down the interstate in the wrong direction, because they can actually think, but just don't realize their motor skills are affected.

    Then there's this guy. He must have been way more intoxicated that 0.08 BAC. In that case, he might not even remember getting in the car, let alone everything else.

    What we know is he made a choice to

  • John Banks Jul 22, 2015
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    I hope he is in jail for a LONGGGGG time. He took the lives of 3 innocent people because HE choose to drink and drive. The law needs to be changed that if YOU decide to get behind the wheel when you are drunk, and your actions cause a death, it should be a Capital Murder charge.

  • William Cosby Jul 22, 2015
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    He'll be out in a couple of years partying and driving drunk again.

  • Mary Dodd Jul 22, 2015
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    Jamaal- It says in the story "The North Carolina State Highway Patrol plans to file various felony charges against him upon his release from UNC Hospitals.." I believe the authorities are doing their job with a thorough investigation into a very serious case.

  • Eddie Brock Jul 22, 2015
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    How drunk do you have to be to get going the wrong way on an interstate? That's just ridiculous.

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