Crime

Man charged after two Charlotte women, NY child killed in I-85 wrong-way wreck

A UNC-Chapel Hill student from Asheboro faces several charges after a weekend wreck that killed three people and injured a child on Interstate 85 in Orange County.

Three of the victims, including two women who were killed, are from Charlotte.

Chandler Michael Kania, 20, was charged Monday with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, possessing an open container of alcohol, possession of alcohol by a person under age 21 and driving by a person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol, N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon said.

The investigation is continuing, Gordon said, and more charges are expected. Investigators suspect alcohol was a factor in the collision and are being assisted by the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division.

A preliminary investigation found Kania was driving his Jeep Wrangler northbound in the southbound lanes of I-85, near mile marker 163 and the Interstate 40 split, when he collided head-on with a Suzuki passenger vehicle around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Three people in the Suzuki were killed instantly: the driver, Felecia Harris, 49, of 1314 Red Tallen Court in Charlotte; a front-seat passenger, Darlene McGee, 46, of 5720 Copper Creek Court, Apt. 5, in Charlotte; and Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was riding in the back seat.

A second child, 9-year-old Jahnia King, also of 1314 Red Tallen Court, was listed in critical condition at UNC Hospitals. Kania also was taken to UNC Hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Harris’ daughter Jalecia posted photos from the hospital and of the family in happier times on her Facebook page Monday. Her mother was always there and willing to listen, she wrote; her niece Jahnice had the whole world ahead of her.

UNC records indicate Kania would have been a junior in the university’s advertising program this fall. He joined the board earlier this year of Tar Heel Beginnings, which works with the New Student and Carolina Parent program to ease the transition to college for first-year students.

Kania is the son of Asheboro dentist Michael Kania and Stephanie Borgard Kania, both of whom are UNC alumni. His brother Cameron is a rising senior at UNC.

Efforts to reach the family at home in Asheboro were unsuccessful.

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