Local News

Three killed in wrong-way crash on I-85

Posted July 19, 2015
Updated July 20, 2015

— Three people were killed early Sunday in a head-on collision on Interstate 85 in Orange County, authorities said.

The crash occurred shortly after 3 a.m. near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, was driving north in the southbound lanes when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte.

Harris and two of her three passengers were killed. One of the other two victims was identified as 6-year-old Janiece Smith, from Brooklyn, N.Y. The third victim has not yet been identified.

A second child seated in the back of Harris' vehicle was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. The Highway Patrol said the child was seriously injured and was still being treated Sunday night.

Kania, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also was taken to UNC Hospitals for treatment on non-life-threatening injuries.

Troopers said alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash, but no charges have been filed.

WRAL News incorrectly reported previously that Harris was a part-time instructor at UNC-Charlotte.

The crash closed two southbound lanes near mile marker 163 for several hours while the Highway Patrol investigated and cleared the wreckage.


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  • Andy Hairston Jul 20, 2015
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    I certainly haven't ever driven drunk. Drunk driving is an easily preventable, major risk to oneself and others. It's also illegal - just like texting while driving, speeding, driving under the influence of some medications, etc. Seemly everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous and illegal. Therefore, anyone who kills someone else in a car accident because they were driving drunk should be charged with second-degree murder under the depraved-heart laws: commiting an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else.

    How to prevent drunk driving?
    1. Don't get drunk.
    2. Don't drive after drinking.
    3. If you're going somewhere to drink, arrange for a sober person to take you home.

  • Stephen Believable Jul 20, 2015
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    You're right, it is a bad decision, and incredibly selfish. Many decisions made regarding operating a vehicle are(see my response to Clint). I'm not trying to justify his actions or claim that punishment isn't due. You screw up, then you pay for it... that's how it works. He screwed up.

    The point of the comment was more to highlight that people may consider their own unsafe actions on the road before passing judgment. No one is safe on the road 100% of the time. Distractions happen, people nod off, look the other way, fail to fix that loud wheel bearing, or turn the wrong way down a road late at night. I've been with someone in a car that has done just that on the way to work one morning with no alcohol involved. Could have been a bad day.
    By the way... did you just claim that assuming that everyone else has driven drunk is more idiotic than actually driving drunk?

  • Stephen Believable Jul 20, 2015
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    Point taken. Good job never doing anything stupid after drinking... the two sure do seem to go hand in hand at times. You're right, he took a chance, and it didn't work out. Lots of people take chances, though. Driving while messing with the phone, speeding, following too closely, driving while under the influence of some legally prescribed medication, not performing proper vehicle maintenance before taking your car on the road at highway speeds, driving aggressively because you're late for something... all bad decisions. No one had any intent to kill or injure anyone. All choices with potential to many possible outcomes.

  • Dan May Jul 20, 2015
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    How did this kid survive a fatal head on interstate collision in a jeep wrangler with no-life threatening injuries? Seems impossible.

  • David Pilley Jul 20, 2015
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    Driving drunk is not just something stupid. It is IDIOTIC. Almost as idiotic as assuming everyone has been idiotic enough to drive while drunk.

    No, we have not all driven drunk because some of us are actually capable of thinking, and, yes, everyone who does it is a selfish POS.

  • Matt Clinton Jul 20, 2015
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    I have never had a few drinks and driven. Ever. I have never gotten drunk and done something stupid. I have done stupid things and made plenty of mistakes, and I suppose this sort of thing could have been an outcome. The thing is, a conscious choice was made by the perpetrator that vastly increased the chance of something horrible happening and it did. People are now dead and severely injured directly because of those choices. The way people view him or judge him should be the least of anyone's concerns.

  • Stephen Believable Jul 20, 2015
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    Are all of you saying that you've never had a few drinks and driven? EVER?
    I'm not trying to defend the guy as much as I am trying to level the playing field. Can each of you say that you've never gotten drunk and done something stupid enough that this could have been an outcome?
    The reality is, if you did any drinking when you were college aged, then you undoubtedly drove at least once when you shouldn't have. You likely got away with it and nothing went wrong... but it could have. Getting lucky then coming down all high and mighty on someone who didn't is BS. We've all done it. Drunken j-rk? POS? Maybe... but also possibly just a kid that didn't get lucky, could have been you that time you drove, but it wasn't. That gives you no grounds to judge this man. Same risk, different outcomes.

    To those of you who can honestly say they never did anything stupid, then I guess this isn't directed your way.

  • Tim Dean Jul 19, 2015
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    All about the alcohol. If the "panty" wearing court system would do their job some (not all) of this abuse would stop unless they serve alcohol in PRISON.

  • Derril Salter Jul 19, 2015
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    In 2013 there were 75,000 alcohol related deaths in this country. But the emphasis is on gun control?

  • William Cosby Jul 19, 2015
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    The additional info. wasn't available at the time I posted Uncle Jessie.