Wake County prosecutors upgraded charges against a Raleigh woman accused of driving drunk at an excessive speed and killing a motorcyclist on the Beltline.
Kiera Jo Sprouse now faces a second-degree murder charge in the death early Monday of Thomas John Anstey, 50, of Cary. Sprouse also faces an upgraded charge of aggravated felony death by vehicle.
Prosecutors file second-degree murder charges in such cases when they contend reckless malice has occurred.
The warrant charging her, using language from state law, said she did with “malice of forethought kill and murder Thomas John Anstey.”
Prosecutors spoke about a 2013 DWI charge in Pitt County that was pending when the wreck occurred early Monday.
The felony death by vehicle charge that Raleigh police filed Monday was upgraded to aggravated because she has a DWI conviction within seven years before the crash.
Sprouse was convicted of DWI in the Town of Groton, N.Y., near Ithaca, in June 2012. She had been arrested there two months earlier.
Police say Sprouse was driving a Ford car an estimated 113 mph when she hit the back of Antsey’s Honda motorcycle in the westbound lanes of the Beltline at Glenwood Avenue at about 12:20 a.m. Monday.
She was arrested at her home in Brier Creek about 3 1/2 hours later, police said.
Sprouse, 23, faces a slew of other charges: felony hit and run causing death, failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision, no operator's license, no insurance, expired registration plate, and driving while impaired.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said the charges were upgraded after investigators gathered additional information.
Police found Sprouse’s car abandoned on the Beltline, spokesman Jim Sughrue said earlier this week. It was not clear how she got from the highway to her home in Brier Creek.
Sprouse remains in the Wake County jail with no bond because of the murder charge. Her bond had been set at $1.1 million on the other charges.
Court calendars show she is supposed to appear in Pitt County District Court on March 16 on the DWI charge as well as citations for having an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle, driving left of center, not having headlights turned on and driving with a revoked license.
CORRECTION: The last name of Antsey (the deceased) was used in one place where the name Sprouse (the accused) should have been used. Correction made Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015.