Attorneys filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the UNC-Chapel Hill student charged in a fatal Orange County collision last month and his father.
The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro of driving carelessly and recklessly while impaired by alcohol and other substances and “in willful and wanton disregard of the rights and safety of others.”
The lawsuit also holds his father, Asheboro dentist Michael Kania, liable because Chandler Kania is considered to be a dependent who still lives at the family home and because his father bought and maintained for his son’s use the Jeep Wrangler involved in the accident.
Chandler Kania is free on bail but is under house arrest and has a curfew of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. UNC records indicate Kania would have been a junior in the advertising program this fall.
Highway Patrol troopers said he was driving the Jeep Wrangler northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 when he collided head-on with a Suzuki near the I-40 split. Three people in the Suzuki were killed: Jahnice Baird, 6, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Felecia Harris, 49, and Darlene McGee, 46, both of Charlotte.
A 9-year-old child in the Suzuki survived and is recovering from her injuries.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of McGee’s family by attorneys with Oxendine, Price and Associates in Raleigh. As a result of her death, the suit says, McGee’s daughter Deseante Jones and a 15-year-old son have been deprived “of her services, protection, care, assistance, net income, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice.”
Jones, who is handling her mother’s estate, is seeking funeral expenses and other damages “in excess of $25,000,” according to the lawsuit. The family also is seeking a jury trial to determine punitive damages.
Investigators have said Kania’s blood-alcohol level the night of the accident was 0.17 – more than twice the state’s legal limit for someone 21 and older – and that he had marijuana in his system.
Kania is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, serious injury by motor vehicle, 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.