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15 Defendants Added to Suit Involving Wrong-Way Driver

Apr 12, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 12, 2017) – Fifteen additional defendants will be added to the suit against an underage drunk driver who drove the wrong way on Interstate 85, killing three people and seriously injuring a fourth.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox granted the plaintiffs’ motions to amend their complaints, adding the defendants. Those added to the lawsuit include the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at UNC, along with members of its board of directors, and friends of the driver who allegedly furnished him with alcohol.

The driver, Chandler Kania, was sentenced to prison for three counts of involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanor reckless driving and driving while impaired in the July 19, 2015 drunk-driving crash. Kania, then a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was 19 at the time of the crash.

The plaintiffs had already sued Kania and two bars, La Residence and He’s Not Here, that they maintain sold him alcohol that night despite the fact that he was intoxicated and underage.

Those sued include the local chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, along with its executive board members. The complaint says the fraternity furnished its underage members, including Kania, with IDs from older members so they could drink while under age; that Kania smoked marijuana the day of the accident at the fraternity house in front of the fraternity president; and that the fraternity regularly permitted underage drinking and drug use.

The lawsuit also names friends of Kania’s who allegedly supplied him with alcohol and marijuana throughout the day leading up to the fatal accident.

Three people – Darlene McGee, Felecia Harris King and King’s granddaughter, Jahnice Beard (age 6) – were killed when Kania hit their car after driving the wrong way on Interstate 85/40 west of Hillsborough last year. Jahniaha King, King’s daughter, who is now 11, was seriously injured.

“This senseless tragedy was the result of the acts of many people coming together to help an underage person use drugs and alcohol,” said attorney David Kirby of the Raleigh law firm of Edwards Kirby, which represents the McGee estate. “We need to send a strong message that we can’t turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior. The consequences for our community are too severe.”

The McGee family is represented by the law firms of Edwards Kirby, LLP, and Oxendine Barnes & Associates, PLLC, both of Raleigh; the King family is represented by Phillips & McCrea of Charlotte; the Beard Estate is represented by Charles G. Monnett III and Associates in Charlotte and Maginnis Law, PLLC, in Raleigh.

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