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Tests: Student charged in wrong-way I-85 crash was drunk, on pot

Posted August 6, 2015

Chandler Michael Kania appears in an Orange County courtroom on July 23, 2015, to face murder charges in a crash on Interstate 85 that killed three people.

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student had marijuana in his system at the time of a wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 last month that killed three people, according to test results released Thursday.

Separate tests also showed that Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17, which is more than twice the level at which a driver is considered impaired under North Carolina law. Because Kania is underage, however, any alcohol in his system would have been illegal.

State Highway Patrol troopers say the rising UNC-Chapel Hill junior was driving north in the southbound lanes near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40 in Orange County on July 19 when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris.

Harris, 49, of Charlotte, her friend Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was seriously injured but has since been released from UNC Hospitals.

Authorities said Kania used a fake ID to drink at two Chapel Hill bars the night before the crash. Friends tried to stop him from getting behind the wheel, but he fought with them, knocking one to the ground, authorities said.

He is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on an interstate, 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.

He is under house arrest after his family posted a $1 million bond last week.


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  • Jim Hugs Aug 7, 2015
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    My grandson was drunk on the pot one time and the only thing he did wrong was go the wrong way into the taco bell drive thru.

  • Janet Scott Aug 7, 2015
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    Alcohol is the issue here, not the marijuana. Driving under the influence of marijuana does make people more cautious. Blood alcohol level that is twice the legal limit is what caused this tragedy.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 7, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    The sad truth is a human life is not worth anything anymore. More people are concerned about a dead lion.

  • Betsy Smith Aug 7, 2015
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    Pot ingested by itself makes you paranoid and drive safer/slower. Alcohol does the opposite. I don't condone driving under the influence of anything including the countless prescription drugs that assume the average im becile will test how it affects them before operating a vehicle. Sadly, pot continues to get a bad rap by association.

  • Reggie Berryman Aug 7, 2015
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    He will walk after paying a $75 fine...that is the standard now, $25 per life!

  • Chase Truman Aug 7, 2015
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    Wow this kid just ruined his life and the lives of another family, all for alcohol. So sad.

  • Russell Hunter Aug 7, 2015
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    May he never again see the light of day as a free man. Take away his freedom for the rest of his life, as he did by taking 3 innocent lives for no reason at all. Shame on his family for bailing him out..... clearly they are only interested in sweeping this under the rug. Who will hold him accountable for taking these lives?

  • Belle Boyd Aug 7, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Just to discredit him more. Being over the legal limit twice should be enough, but they want to show he was stoned too.

  • Clif Bardwell Aug 7, 2015
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    What does the fact that he had marijuana in his system have to do with anything? His B/A Level was over twice the legal limit! This was a comment strictly meant as an anti-marijuana smear.

  • James Grimes Jr. Aug 7, 2015
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    Wow. From bad to worse.