Local News

Man Convicted In 2001 Drag-Racing Deaths Sentenced For Probation Violation

Posted August 8, 2006 11:12 a.m. EDT

— A Wake County man who admitted five years ago to a drag race that killed four teenagers on Interstate 540 was sentenced to 90 days in jail after violating his probation.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens told 22-year-old Chris Petersen that he had failed to live up to his responsibilities after admitting to taking part in the race in May 2001.

"He will comply with the judgment of this court." Stephens said.

Petersen admitted to only completing 26 hours of his 480 hours of community service. He also admitted to driving when he was prohibited to do so by the court for three years.

"He certainly didn't intend to hurt anybody," said Petersen's defense attorney Nick Saparilas. "He just made some bad decisions -- both on the night in question and while he was on probation."

But the victims' family members said it is more than just some bad decisions.

"He had a chance to make a difference in somebody else's life," said Irma Reaves, the mother of victim Bryan Reaves who was driving the other car. "The only difference he made is ruining four families. He's destroyed our lives."

"And then for him to get back in his car and drive? He has no regard for the law, so what happened to him today is just," said Susan Yurcak, the mother of victim Matthew Yurcak.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles did issue Petersen a license in July 2005, a little more than a year after he was ordered by the court not to drive for three years. The DMV, however, insisted that its records reflect that Petersen's license was only revoked for a year.