Local News

Wake judge sets aside part of guilty verdict in fatal hit-and-run

Posted August 21, 2012 12:16 p.m. EDT
Updated August 21, 2012 6:51 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Tuesday set aside part of a jury's verdict in the case of a Raleigh man charged in the June 2011 death of a Randolph County woman, because there wasn't enough evidence to support a conviction.

Macrus Xavier Bridges, 21, was found guilty Monday of felony hit and run and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the death of Morgan McKenzie, 17. But Superior Court Judge Carl Fox didn't accept the hit-and-run decision, he said, because Wake County prosecutors offered no evidence to show that Bridges knew there was a wreck.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller, who notified Fox that he plans to appeal the ruling, said McKenzie's family was upset by Fox's decision.

The teen was riding in a Chevrolet Malibu with her sister and her mother in a left lane on Interstate 40 in the early hours of June 25, 2011, when, prosecutors say, Bridges merged into the lane.

McKenzie's sister, Emily McKenzie, swerved right to avoid hitting Bridges, lost control of her and car and hit a tree.

Morgan McKenzie, who was in the back seat, died at the scene, and the driver and other passenger were injured.

Bridges, authorities said, never stopped.

Defense attorney Butch Williams said Bridges didn't know about the wreck.

Bridges, however, was sentenced Tuesday to a 45-day suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation on the misdemeanor death by motor vehicle charge. Fox also ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and court costs, to surrender his license for a year and to perform 100 hours of community service by speaking to young drivers about his experience.

"The most dangerous thing we do every day is take a key and put it in the ignition and drive," Fox told Bridges. "It's a serious responsibility."

Bridges apologized in court.

"I am so sorry about what happened. I cannot express it with words," he said. "If I could change anything about it would. I hope we can all get over it, and we can honor her memory."