Local News

Some lawsuits settled in fatal wrong-way I-85 crash

Posted February 8

Chandler Michael Kania listens to testimony in his second-degree murder trial on Oct. 7, 2016. Kania is accused of acting with malice in a July 2015 head-on collision on Interstate 85 that killed two women and a child.

— Some of the civil lawsuits filed after a fatal wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 almost two years ago have been settled.

Chandler Michael Kania was headed north in the southbound lanes of I-85 near the Interstate 40 split in Orange County on July 19, 2015, when his Jeep Wrangler collided head on with a Suzuki sedan. Felecia Harris, 49, her friend Darlene McGee, 46, both of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter, Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, survived the crash but was seriously injured.

Kania was convicted in October of involuntary manslaughter and pleaded guilty to three counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count each of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on an interstate, driving after consuming alcohol as a minor, possession of alcohol by a minor and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. He was sentenced to up to 16 years in prison on the charges.

Kania's parents and He's Not Here, a Chapel Hill bar who served him alcohol in the hours before the crash – he was an underage college student at the time – have settled lawsuits filed on behalf of Harris, McGee, Beard and King.

All of the settlements have been sealed pending a trial next year in which the plaintiffs are suing Kania and a second bar, La Residence.

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  • Charles Williams Feb 9, 8:33 a.m.
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    Really? If it was about the money, it would have gone to trial. The issue here is, an underage person was served liquor, he got into a vehicle and killed people. They must pay for potential loss of income and life. Money won't bring them back, but it will help with the bills.

  • Ben Hill Feb 9, 2:07 a.m.
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    Nothing will bring them back... but why not make a few bucks off this tragedy.