Drag-racer pleads guilty in Johnston County deaths, will serve no more than 6 years

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — A man charged with killing four people while drag-racing in Johnston County said Thursday that he was taking responsibility for the deaths he caused.

Jimmy Pearce, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with a fatal July 2015 wreck.

“I did not run that light. I did not run anything. I’m here to accept responsibility,” he said.

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS OF CRASH AND VICTIMS AND SUSPECT

Pearce was sentenced to consecutive sentences totaling 41 to 71 months in prison.

Before today’s sentencing, with dozens of supporters nearby, 39-year-old Jimmy Pearce embraced his wife Sandra for several minutes.

On the other side of the courtroom were grieving family members of four people killed.

RELATED: Man charged with murder after 4 dead, 3 hurt in Johnston Co. drag racing crash

Pearce said he personally knew all of the families involved. He called the four victims “good friends,” and said he must take responsibility for what happened.

Prosecutors say Pearce was drag-racing with another driver, before he lost control of his Ford Mustang and crashed into a crowd nearby.

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CLICK TO VIEW PHOTOS OF THE VICTIMS IN THE CRASH

Carlton Brooks, 42, Garland Earp, 39, Arrington Earp, 23 and Undra Taybron, 40, all died at the scene.

Three others were also seriously injured

In court today, loved ones of those killed shared victim impact statements.

Sonya Earp lost her brother and her only son.

“The four people he killed paid with their life,” She said. “That was their punishment. What will his be?”

Before Pearce was sentenced, Judge Doug Parsons called the case a “tragedy to all involved.”

The driver Pearce was racing against left the scene after the wreck and has never been caught.

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