Local News

Family disputes claim of argument before fatal Walmart crash

Posted August 4, 2010 3:10 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2010 6:27 p.m. EDT

— The family of a Triton High School senior charged with murder in a June wreck that killed his girlfriend said Wednesday that they have found nothing to support police statements that the teens were arguing before the crash.

Dillon Tart, 18, was indicted two weeks ago on a charge of second-degree murder. He is on house arrest while awaiting trial.

Ashley Moore, 16, a junior at Triton High in Dunn, died in the June 4 crash in the parking lot of a Walmart between Dunn and Erwin. Tart, who was driving the SUV, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police have said that witnesses told them the teens were arguing inside Tart's SUV at a gas station several hundred yards away shortly before the vehicle accelerated, clipped two vehicles and then flipped several times, hitting the front of the store.

Tart's mother, Patricia Jackson, said witnesses have told her insurance company that they only heard Moore screaming before the crash.

"My insurance adjuster has the same witnesses and has gotten them to sign papers stating they heard no arguing coming from the car," Jackson said.

She and Tart say that supports their belief that he suffered a seizure before the wreck. Medical records show he has a history of seizures, having suffered grand mal seizures in November 2007 and July 2008 that sent him to the hospital.

"People think that he's lying, he's making an excuse. He's not," Jackson said. "You know your kid. I know he wouldn't ever do that."

Tart said he remembers nothing about the crash and says he can't think of any reason he and Moore would have argued.

"The last thing I remember is passing Smithfield's (Chicken 'n) Bar-B-Q in front of Belk's, then I woke up at WakeMed hospital," he said. "I think I had a seizure. I mean, there's no way I would do anything to hurt Ashley."

The teens had dated for two years, and Tart said he planned to marry Moore after they graduated from Triton High. He said he wanted to attend community college and study criminal justice.

Moore would have turned 17 on Thursday. Her parents said Wednesday that they aren't ready to discuss her death publicly.

"It's like a nightmare. You want to wake up from it," Jackson said. "I want her back. I wish I could bring her back every day, not just for my son, but for her mom and her dad. I can't imagine what they're going through."

Tart now has a tattoo to remember Moore by, saying that he misses everything about her.

"People (are) saying I murdered her. I did not murder her, and they're wanting to say that I did," he said. "I loved her with all my heart."