Raleigh driver charged in fatal crash had previous DWI arrest

Man, 32, was awaiting trial on 2010 charge

ablythe@newsobserver.comAugust 2, 2012 

— A Raleigh man accused of drunken driving and second-degree murder after a deadly collision this past weekend had a two-year-old DWI case pending in Wake County court.

David L. Coker Jr., 32, was awaiting trial on a DWI charge from Jan. 25, 2010, when police contend he failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and T.W. Alexander Drive and plowed his 2006 Audi into a 2012 Dodge driven by Kossivi Gadegbeku.

Gadegbeku was driving about 55 mph on Glenwood Avenue, according to police reports, and Coker’s estimated speed was about 60 miles per hour.

Gadegbeku, a 42-year-old African immigrant who, according to friends, came to this country in 1996 to flee political strife, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Laura Galdamez, a 42-year-old from Durham and a passenger in Gadegbeku’s car, suffered serious injuries and was transported to Duke Hospital, according to officials.

Coker was originally charged with DWI, failure to stop at a red light, and causing felony death and felony serious injury. He was taken to Duke Hospital and stayed until Tuesday afternoon. He was discharged with hip contusions and then charged with second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

John Fanney, the Raleigh attorney representing him, said Thursday that Coker was “completely devastated” by the collision.

“It’s been described to me that David is a very loving person,” Fanney said.

But several years ago, the woman he was going to marry died suddenly while at the coast when he was not with her.

“He’s had some personal difficulties since his fiancee died in a drowning accident,” Fanney said.

Coker’s DWI case in Wake County was appealed from district court to superior court on July 5, 2011.

In that case, Fanney was arguing that police had stopped him without probable cause and for that reason was trying to suppress evidence.

The case had not been put on a calendar in Superior Court, according to court documents. The prosecutors set the calendar.

Coker is being held in the Wake County jail on a $500,000 bond.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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