Local News

Second lawsuit filed in fatal I-85 crash

Posted September 15, 2015 4:58 p.m. EDT

Chandler Michael Kania appears in an Orange County courtroom on July 23, 2015, to face murder charges in a crash on Interstate 85 that killed three people.

— A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in a head-on collision involving a Jeep driving the wrong way on Interstate 85 that killed three people in July.

State Highway Patrol troopers say Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, was driving north in the southbound lanes near the split of I-85 and Interstate 40 in Orange County on July 19 when his Jeep Wrangler collided with a Suzuki driven by Felecia Harris.

Harris, 49, of Charlotte, her friend Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was seriously injured.

Shanice Beard, Jahnice's mother, makes similar allegations in her lawsuit to those made by McGee's daughter, Deseante Jones, in a lawsuit filed last month.

Beard seeks punitive damages from Kania, alleging that his actions amounted to willful misconduct. She also alleges that Kania's parents, Michael John Kania and Stephanie Borgard Kania, were negligent because they owned the Jeep and allowed their son to drive it.

She also alleges that the owners of two Chapel Hill bars, He's Not Here and La Residence, were negligent in serving alcohol to someone under 21 who was visibly intoxicated and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from them.

Authorities said Chandler Kania used a fake ID to drink at the two bars in the hours before the crash. Tests showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17, which is more than twice the level at which a driver is considered impaired under North Carolina law, and that he had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has cited both bars with violations in connection with the incident.

Chandler Kania is under house arrest awaiting trial on the following charges: three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on an interstate, careless and reckless driving, driving after consuming alcohol as a minor, possession of alcohol by a minor and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.