The driver accused of setting off a chain-reaction crash that killed a Charlotte pastor’s toddler and newborn son has been indicted on two charges of involuntary manslaughter by a grand jury.
The crash happened in late May along U.S. 17 in Pender County, near Wilmington.
Investigators say a box truck was approaching stopped traffic and failed to stop in time, resulting in a chain-reaction crash.
Gentry and Hadley Eddings, both 28, and their son, Dobbs, were in the crash. The 2-year-old was killed instantly.
Gentry is a pastor from Charlotte.
Hadley, who was eight months pregnant, gave emergency birth at the hospital to their son, Reed. At first, news looked hopeful, but three days later Reed also died.
“We got to hold him,” Hadley said. “They put us in a private room and we were able to hold him and do some skin-on-skin time and I got to take a little nap with him, which was wonderful. Gentry did too. We just sat and held him.”
The driver of the truck, 28-year-old Matthew Deans, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and failure to reduce speed. Investigators said he was driving while distracted.
Tuesday morning, District Attorney Ben David announced that Deans had been indicted by a grand jury in Pender County on two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The indictment was handed down Monday for the deaths of Dobbs and Reed.
Deans is expected to appear in Pender County Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Eddings were married six years exactly on the night of the accident. They have deep faith and say the situation is as much God’s story as it is theirs.
“God has our boys in a place of peace, so I am in a place of peace,” Gentry said. “God has a plan. The situation is a frustrating one. We don’t want to be here. We don’t like it. This is not a fun situation. We’re mad at the loss. But we know God is good and has a plan and we believe that.”
By the time he was at the hospital that night, Gentry said he had forgiven the truck driver.
Dobbs’ and Reed’s rooms are still set up as they were. The couple says they haven’t yet thought about trying to have more children.
Right now, it’s just about waking up, Hadley says, and realizing it wasn’t a dream.
Gentry and Hadley say if you’d like to help, that you help make the legacy of their sons be used to help a Haiti mission where they Gentry and Hadley have both served. Just go to mohhaiti.org.
“Mission of Hope Haiti” works to transform Haiti through various projects including orphan care, education, health care, nutrition, church advancement and empowerment programs for women.
WBTV is an Observer news partner.