Local News

Tests: Student charged in wrong-way I-85 crash was drunk, on pot

Posted August 6, 2015 4:52 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 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student had marijuana in his system at the time of a wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 last month that killed three people, according to test results released Thursday.

Separate tests also showed that Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, 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. Because Kania is underage, however, any alcohol in his system would have been illegal.

State Highway Patrol troopers say the rising UNC-Chapel Hill junior 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 Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was seriously injured but has since been released from UNC Hospitals.

Authorities said Kania used a fake ID to drink at two Chapel Hill bars the night before the crash. Friends tried to stop him from getting behind the wheel, but he fought with them, knocking one to the ground, authorities said.

He is charged with 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.

He is under house arrest after his family posted a $1 million bond last week.