Local News

Driver dead, passenger injured after car crashes into house

Posted August 20, 2010 5:37 a.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2010 4:09 p.m. EDT

— A 20-year-old man died and a 19-year-old man was in critical condition after they crashed into a house at 1911 Tryon Road in Raleigh around midnight.

Max Bratton of Holly Springs died at the scene, according to troopers. His passenger, Ethan Herring of Raleigh, was taken to WakeMed with critical injuries.

Troopers said that they believe excessive speed was a factor and that Bratton was driving about 60 to 65 mph in a 45-mph zone. His BMW M5M was traveling on a wet road, came around a corner, crashed into a fence with brick pylons, went airborne and smashed into the house, sending the carport crashing down.

Alcohol was found in Herring's system, and authorities said they are trying to determine if Bratton had been drinking as well.

The owners of the house, C. H. "Tink" and Dona Thomas, said the crash sounded like an explosion. They were not harmed, but their property sustained major damage, including three broken windows, holes in the siding and sheet wall, two holes and a leak in the roof and a crushed carport.

A neighbor, Theresa Clowers, said Friday's crash marked the ninth time someone has crashed into her fence.

The Thomases had just returned from a trip in which Dona Thomas' mother had gotten sick and died. The couple had been driving all day back from Florida and had just gone to bed when they heard the car hit their house.  

Friends say Bratton "was an amazing guy" who always had a smile on his face. He was enrolled at Wake Technical Community College and loved his BMW, they said.

"I can't imagine what he went through," said friend Jonathan Doss, who came to the scene of the crash to see if for himself. "I hate it for everyone, for the family and everybody that was close to him."