Local News

Man Involved in Halloween Accident Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

Posted November 18, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— A man who police say was driving drunk when he caused a deadly accident Halloween night is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter. The parents of one of the victims hope that the charges will send a powerful message.

Two high school students died in the accident along U.S. 401 in Wake County.

"These boys died because the brain hit the side of the skull with such force that it suddenly swelled. They were instantly, without pain, on their way to death," said John Barrows, whose son Tim was killed in the accident.

That's what doctors told Barrows and his wife, Cheryl, on Halloween night. That night, state troopers say Francisco Melendez was drunk behind the wheel of a van and moving at least 65 miles per hour.

They say he never even hit the brakes before he slammed into the Chevrolet Blazer killing 15-year-old Tim Barrows and 16-year-old Scott Miller.

Now, Melendez is in jail charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

"And I'm not sure yesterday he was sorry that he took those two lives and ruined two families. I think today he might be thinking that way." said Cheryl.

But the Barrows want to do more than just send a message. They want action.

The petitions are already in circulation. The Barrows want theDepartment of Transportationto put a stop light at the intersection at Highway 401 and Forestville Road. They say it needs a stop light.

"I know that Scott would never have gone through a red light. If he would have had the red light, he would have been stopped there," said Cheryl.

"If the drunk driver had the red light, he might have stopped. We don't know," said John.

DOT officials said that as soon as they get the budget, they will have a stop light at the intersection, hopefully within two months.

The two young victims who died in the accident have not been forgotten. There is still a memorial at the scene.