Local News

Wrongful death suit filed in wrong-way I-85 crash

Posted August 11, 2015 7:23 p.m. EDT
Updated August 11, 2015 11:11 p.m. EDT

— The daughter of a woman killed last month in a head-on collision involving a Jeep driving the wrong way on Interstate 85 filed a wrongful death suit Tuesday against the accused wrong-way driver and his father.

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 Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were killed in the fiery wreck. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was seriously injured.

Authorities said Kania, a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used a fake ID to drink at two Chapel Hill bars the night 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.

McGee's daughter, Deseante Jones, who is administering her estate, alleges in the lawsuit that Kania's actions were negligent and amounted to willful conduct. She also alleges that Kania's father, Michael Kania, is liable because he owned the Jeep and allowed his son to drive it.

The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.

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.