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Ex-NASCAR pit crew chief is accused in fatal wreck

Man with history of drunken driving has been charged in crash that killed 1, injured another in Iredell County.

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Steve Lyttle
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com; slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Former NASCAR pit crew chief Tim Kohuth was jailed this morning and charged in connection with a fatal wreck Thursday in Iredell County that left one man dead and a woman hospitalized.

The wreck killed Wesley Worden. His wife, Gail Worden, is hospitalized in stable condition at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Kohuth, who has a history of drunken driving, was released from an Iredell County hospital Friday morning and immediately taken to a Statesville jail, where he was charged with second-degree murder. He is being held on $500,000 bond.

N.C. Highway Patrol troopers told WCNC-TV, the Observer's news partner, that they believe Kohuth was intoxicated again Thursday when a flatbed tow truck he was driving collided with an SUV on Brawley School Road at Mallard Way.

When asked if he believed Kohuth's blood alcohol was over the legal limit, Trooper David Reed responded, "Absolutely."

According to a criminal record check, Kohuth was convicted of three driving-while-impaired offenses in a 15-month period -- two in a vehicle, one in a boat.

After the first, a DWI in Iredell in March 2006, a judge ordered him to complete alcohol treatment, surrender his license and not commit a similar offense. Kohuth was convicted of a second DWI offense seven months later. And he was convicted of the boating offense less than a year after that.

WCNC is reporting that Kohuth's personal vehicle was equipped with a breathalyzer machine that would prevent him from starting the SUV if he had been drinking.

Kohuth was once a crew chief in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Now he operates a Mooresville-based vintage car restoration business.

Staff Writer Joe Marusak and WCNC-TV contributed.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr. 704-358-5046

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