Fatal crash trial of ex-UNC student enters 2nd day of testimony

Chandler Kania in court on Oct. 6, 2016. (David Hurst/CBS North Carolina)
Chandler Kania in court on Oct. 6, 2016. (David Hurst/CBS North Carolina)

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The trial for a former UNC student accused of driving drunk and killing three people in 2015 entered its second day of testimony Thursday.

Chandler Kania is on trial after being charged with three counts of second-degree murder and reckless driving in connection with the Interstate-85 crash on July 19, 2015.

Kania, 20 at the time of the crash, admits to driving drunk and causing the crash that night.

Related coverage: More stories on the deadly crash and court proceedings

Rebecca Greene, a UNC student who was with Kania the night of the crash, took the stand Thursday.

“We had planned to go all go out together that night,” Greene said.

She revealed on an immunity agreement with prosecutors because she was drinking underage that night as well.

Greene said the bars Kania went to that night, La Rez and He’s Not Here, were popular among underclassmen and easy to get in with fake IDs.

She described Kania as a nice and peaceful person while on the stand. When asked about Kania’s marijuana use, Greene said he used it “very often.”

Alex Pugh testified he spent most of the day before the crash with Kania. He said the two smoked marijuana together in Wilmington before driving to Chapel Hill.

Pugh also attempted to take Kania’s car keys to keep him from driving before the crash.

Pugh described Kania as “agitated” before the crash.

The state medical examiner also too the stand Thursday morning.

The judge dismissed a juror who fell asleep for about 25 minutes during witness testimony.

During opening statements on Wednesday, both sides detailed the moments before Kania got into his car and drove drunk the wrong way on I-85 — crashing into another car and killing three people including a 6-year-old girl.

Officials said Kania drove drunk the wrong way on Interstate 85 in Hillsborough and crashing and killing Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and 6-year-old Jahnice Beard of Brooklyn, New York.

The three victims were headed to Charlotte after traveling to Virginia for a family reunion.

Both sides say Kania and his friends drank a lot of alcohol the night of the crash and Kania was upset after an argument about a girl.

They say Kania’s friends tried to stop him from getting into his SUV, but Kania got into his Jeep and drove away.

Kania pleaded guilty to several charges related to the crash earlier in the week.

He pleaded guilty to:

  • Three counts of felony death by motor vehicle
  • Felony charge of causing serious injury
  • Felony driving while impaired
  • Having on open container of alcohol
  • Driving after consuming alcohol while under age 21
  • Consuming alcohol under age 21
  • Two counts of using a false driver’s license
  • Driving the wrong way on a dual-lane highway

Orange County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman said the guilty plea was not part of any deal made by Kania and his attorneys.

Prosecutors must prove to jurors Kania acted with malice in order to convict him of the second-degree murder charges.

RELATED: Opening statements focus on malice in trial about ex-UNC student’s deadly crash

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