A 20-year-old University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student accused of causing a wrong way traffic collision that killed three people was released from jail on a $1 million bond Tuesday afternoon. reports the Daily Mail.
According to officials, Chandler Michael Kania was driving drunk on the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 in Hillsborough, North Carolina, on July 19 when he swerved into another car and killed 49-year-old Felecia Harris, 46-year-old Darlene McGee, and Harris’ 6-year-old granddaughter, Jahnice Baird, WRAL reported.
(From left: Felecia Harris, Darlene McGee, Jahnice Baird)
Harris’ 9-year-old daughter, Jahnia King, suffered serious injuries but has been released from the hospital.
The college junior belongs to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and is involved with a mentoring program on campus. He allegedly borrowed an older fraternity brother’s ID to go drink at local bars. His friends told police that they tried to stop him from driving home, but he knocked one of them down, according to authorities.
On Tuesday, Kania’s parents posted the $1 million bail and took him home, where he will be under house arrest.
Authorities charged Kania 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, according to WRAL.
If convicted, Kania could face up to 65 years in prison.
"Chandler will immediately seek the medical care and physical therapy he needs to recover from the injuries he sustained," Defense attorney Roger Smith Jr. wrote in an email to WRAL. "Once he has recovered from his injuries and is physically able, he will focus on other areas of treatment. Chandler and the Kania family continue to grieve and mourn for the victims and their families."
Darlene McGee’s sister, Connie, said that Kania is “a selfish young man” for what he did that fateful night, notes the Daily Mail.
According to Connie, the victims were driving home from an annual memorial service for Darlene’s mother, whose ashes were in the car in an urn. The family hopes to recover some of her remains.
“He had his whole life ahead of him, but he chose to drive drunk,” Connie said.