Cary man pleads guilty in fatal hit-and-run
Posted May 13, 2016 10:56 a.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2016 2:09 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A man who killed one Cary teen and injured a second three years ago in a hit-and-run on Hillsborough Street could be out of prison a year from now after pleading guilty Friday.
Adetoye Adekanmbi, 36, of Cary, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony hit-and-run. Under his plea agreement, he will serve 40 to 66 months in prison, followed by 18 months on probation.
Because Adekanmbi has already spent almost three years in jail, his lawyer said he could be released in another nine to 12 months.
Natalie Chidlaw and Meghan Clark, both 18, were crossing Hillsborough Street near Dixie Trail on June 15, 2013, when Adekanmbi hit them. Authorities said the girls were crossing against the light but that Adekanmbi was speeding down the street – accident reconstruction experts estimated the speed of his Volkswagen sedan at 46 to 51 mph – and didn't stop after hitting the teens in the crosswalk.
Chidlaw died at the scene, and Clark suffered a broken pelvis, a broken nose and nerve damage and was hospitalized for a month.
Police arrested Adekanmbi in Cary about 12 hours after the crash, when his blood-alcohol content measured 0.05.
"What right did he have to leave our children on the side of the road like they were nothing?" Clark's father, Bruce Clark, said in court Friday. "Why would he run and not be man enough to stop and answer for his actions?"
Adekanmbi apologized to the families in court, but that wasn't enough for Chidlaw's mother.
"I am 100 percent against this plea deal. If it were up to me and my family, you’d spend the rest of your days in jail," Jamie Brauer said.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller said he offered a plea deal to Adekanmbi, who has a previous driving while impaired conviction, because investigators couldn't prove he was drunk at the time of the crash. Under the deal, a second-degree murder charge was reduced to involuntary manslaughter, and a charge of assault with a deadly weapon was dismissed.
Brauer said she still has nightmares in which she envisions Adekanmbi running over her daughter.
"I see the impact, the car speeding through the intersection, you hitting her. Did she see you coming? Was she afraid?" Brauer said. "She was growing up to be a wonderful person, and her life was ripped away in an instant by your selfish decision."
Superior Court Judge Wayne Abernathy consoled Chidlaw's family, saying "the hole in your lives" won't go away but that they need to try to move forward each day.
Abernathy then warned Adekanmbi not to drink and drive again.
"If I were you and bear the weight you should be bearing, I would never touch another drop of alcohol again in my life," the judge said. "The fact that you’ve been convicted once and stand here with a death on your hands and grievous injuries, it would be enough to convince me to never drink again and get behind the wheel of a car."
Adekanmbi cannot drink or drive while on probation. The native of Nigeria, who is in the U.S. legally, could face deportation once his sentence has been served.