Crime

Driver in fatal 2013 Charlotte crash pleads guilty, walks free

For the second time in his relatively young life, Demarcus Reid is a free man.

The 22-year-old Charlottean pleaded guilty this week to two misdemeanor counts of death by motor vehicle stemming from a 2013 crash that killed two of his passengers and left a third in a coma.

Under his plea agreement with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, Reid received the maximum sentence of 75 days in jail for each charge. He also got credit for time served, which covered the length of his punishment.

As a teenager, Reid spent 2 1/2 years in jail on a rape charge before being acquitted in January 2013.

Six months later, police say Reid was speeding on Eastway Drive just before midnight when he rear-ended a van and slammed head on into a Ford Explorer. All four of his passengers were thrown from the car. Deborah Bakashika, 18, and Ashley Gilliam, 20, died. Eight others in the multicar crash were injured.

Reid spent five months in jail before being freed on bond last January. As part of this week’s sentence, Superior Court Judge Martin McGee from Cabarrus County ordered Reid to pay funeral expenses and turn over his license. (Reid’s attorney, Norman Butler, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.)

The case was scheduled to go to trial as early as next Monday. Assistant District Attorney David Kelly said the fact that Reid had not been drinking before the crash made this a misdemeanor case, even with the loss of life. He said the families of the dead women accepted the decision to settle the case.

Gilliam’s mother, Bridgette Hinton, who was in court Tuesday when Reid entered his plea, said she is happy she and her two other children, ages 6 and 13, won’t be forced to sit through a trial. But she said she wishes Reid had apologized after his plea or at least offered a few words to the families of his victims.

“He didn’t say anything,” Hinton said Wednesday. “Oh yeah, his lawyer did most of the talking, but you’d think he (Reid) could say something to us. Words sound good coming from your lawyer. But when it’s coming from you, at least we know you mean it.”

Reid’s Facebook page includes several photographs of him and his son – with family or in Reid’s car as the pair tools around town.

Gilliam, Hinton’s daughter, would have graduated from nursing school in June. Hinton said she had “a beautiful mind.”

A trial, a tougher sentence – nothing can bring her daughter back, she said.

“I knew what to expect, that he wasn’t going to get a long time. The law is the law, I guess.”

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