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Victim's family agrees to plea deal for driver who killed groom

Posted February 5, 2010

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— The family of a Raleigh man killed on his wedding day agreed to a plea deal for the driver who hit him, their lawyer said Friday.

Christopher Raynor, 28, of 9240 Bruckhaus St., was scheduled to marry Karen Taylor Sept. 12 at Raleigh's Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Church. He was headed to breakfast with his groomsmen when an Asheville doctor hit the car he was riding in.

James Howard Early, of 17 Lynwood Road in Asheville, was charged with a red light violation and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Raynor’s family agreed with a prosecutor’s move to drop the second charge. Early pleaded “responsible” in court on Friday. He was fined $100 for running the red light.

Early did not comment at the hearing. Prosecutors pointed out that he had no criminal history and a clean driving record.


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  • apexgirl11 Feb 5, 2010

    This was a terrible accident, but an accident, nonetheless. The family was right in saying that harsher charges against this driver who made a terrible mistake wouldn't bring their loved one back, so why ruin his life. Whole 'nother story if drugs or alcohol were involved, but he was in an unfamiliar area and unfortunately, accidents do happen.

    And honestly, if the deceased were wearing his seatbelt, chances are he would have survived this accident. He was ejected from the car and hit by a 3rd car. Still, a very sad, sad story, especially since it was his wedding day!

  • MileageWarrior Feb 5, 2010

    thats a big move for the family. it shows their compassion for their fellow man, despite what this guy did and the loss he created for many.

    i'm sorry to say, had it been my family, i'd have agreed to the plea deal only so i could get my hands on him myself.

  • foregolf2002 Feb 5, 2010

    I have been t-boned twice- once by someone who ran a red-light, the other a stop sign. They were not drunk, it was not intentional, it was an accident. This must be a strong family who is willing to accept that accidents do happen, and chose not to ruin another life because of it. I know that I have mistakenly run a light or a stop sign in my 25 years of driving and have gotten lucky that nothing was coming the other way.

  • clickhere Feb 5, 2010

    What? My stomach is turning on this one. Ran a red light, killed someone and walks with a misdemeaner.