Charge in fatal Cary crash reduced

Apex woman, 23, is fined $50

akenney@newsobserver.comAugust 18, 2012 

— A 23-year-old Apex woman involved in a fatal car accident in February has received a reduced speeding ticket and a $50 fine, according to court records.

Crash analyses did not uniformly confirm the Cary Police Department’s original report that Megan Anne Sladek was driving 67 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash, which killed two people, according to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.

Sladek, who also is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of the crash, was driving on Cary Parkway when she struck a car that had turned across her lane from the other side of the street, according to police reports. The other driver, Martikia Adams, 22, and her 26-year-old boyfriend, Brian Cobb, were killed.

Brian Cobb’s father is unhappy with the verdict, which was Sladek’s second speeding conviction from four speed-related charges over the years, court records show. “I don’t want for her to be marked for life, but something’s not right here,” Fred Cobb said. “I expected to see something more than what she got.”

Court records show Sladek pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to the lesser charge of “exceeding the posted speed limit,” which typically brings fewer license penalty points and removes the threat of a temporary license revocation, according to Raleigh lawyer Seth Blum, who isn’t involved in the case.

Police never said Sladek was legally at fault; she had the right of way as she sped toward S.W. Cary Parkway’s intersection with West Chatham Street. But the Cary Police Department partially attributed the wreck to Sladek’s speed. “Based on our investigation, if Miss Sladek had been traveling according to the speed limit, this collision likely would have never happened,” Cary Deputy Police Chief Barry Nickalson said in a written statement just after the wreck.

Martikia Adams’ family also claims in a civil lawsuit that Sladek negligently failed to pay attention and that she had the “last clear chance” to prevent the collision.

Cobb’s father acknowledges that Adams “made a fatal mistake” when she turned left across Cary Parkway into the path of Sladek’s Dodge Avenger. But Cobb says he wants “there to be some acknowledgement that she contributed more than a $50 speeding ticket.” Sladek also paid court costs.

But the evidence wasn’t strong enough to bear out the original charge, according to Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller.

“We did a lot of different analyses. We found the speed in each one of those analyses to be more than 45 mph,” he said. But, he added, “there were other speeds (below) 67 mph that some reports and some analyses showed.”

Court records show several tickets for Sladek over the years.

The district attorney’s office dismissed a 2006 speeding charge and dismissed insurance and paperwork charges against her in 2008 and 2009. Sladek was charged in 2010 with driving 63 mph in a 45 mph zone but was convicted of a lesser charge. The district attorney’s office dismissed charges last December that she had failed to reduce her speed and driven with an expired registration.

Sladek’s attorney in the wrongful death suit, J.D. Keister, declined comment on the pending litigation. Sladek declined to talk about the crash or the ticket.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or twitter.com/KenneyOnCary

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