Crime & Courts

Mooresville DWI suspect hits oncoming car at 90 mph, with a remarkable outcome

A Mooresville DWI suspect trying to elude a state trooper smacked into an oncoming car at 90 mph on Williamson Road at Lake Norman late Wednesday, a wreck you’d think no one would survive.

Both cars were demolished. But the suspect had already lost control on the 45-mph road and was traveling sideways when he hit the oncoming car with a man and his 10-year-old son inside, 1st Sgt. B.T. Owenby of the State Highway Patrol office in Statesville said Thursday.

A rear quarter panel of the four-door 2004 BMW driven by 19-year-old Daniel Preiss hit the oncoming car with what Owenby described as a “glancing blow.”

“It was a hard impact, but not headlights-to-headlights,” Owenby said.

Preiss then veered off the road, hit a fire hydrant and then a gigantic oak tree, according to Owenby.

Remarkably, everyone in the wreck had only minor injuries or soreness, including Mooresville resident Jack Thesier and his son, who were hit by the suspect’s car, authorities said. A passenger in Preiss’ car, Heather Cox, 18, of Charlotte, was uninjured. All had seat belts on, according to Owenby.

Preiss was arrested on charges of driving while impaired, felony speeding to elude arrest, driving while license revoked and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. The weapon was the driver’s car, and the two counts are for the number of occupants in the other car, Owenby said. Preiss was in the Iredell County Jail on $35,000 bail on Thursday, a jail spokeswoman said.

Preiss already faces trial in Mecklenburg County Criminal District Court next Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of underage possession of a malt beverage, court records show. He was arrested on that charge on April 7.

The Highway Patrol won’t know Preiss’ blood-alcohol content at the time of Wednesday’s wreck until test results are back in about six months, according to Owenby.

He said the trooper tried to stop the driver for speeding on Interstate 77 southbound between N.C. 150 exit 36 and Brawley School Road exit 35 at 10:05 p.m. He said he didn’t know how fast Preiss was traveling at the time.

The driver ignored the trooper’s flashing lights and sped onto Brawley School Road before turning north on Williamson Road, according to Owenby. Williamson Road is about a mile west of the I-77 exit. Preiss hit Thesier’s car near Savannah Drive.

Owenby said he did not know how fast the trooper was traveling during the pursuit, but noted the pursuit was just for a short distance and that Brawley School Road and Williamson Road have little traffic that time of night. Thesier’s 2013 Hyundai four-door car was traveling 35 mph or less, Owenby said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak