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Monday October 25th

State trooper and fraternity member testify in Chandler Kania's trial

<p>Chandler Kania leaves his pre-trial hearing at the Orange County Courthouse on Aug. 16. Photo by&nbsp;Sara Kiley Watson.&nbsp;</p>
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Chandler Kania leaves his pre-trial hearing at the Orange County Courthouse on Aug. 16. Photo by Sara Kiley Watson. 

On the fourth day of Chandler Kania’s trial, witness testimony continued. 

The jury heard from N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Foster, who was one of the first people on the scene at the July 2015 crash, and Steven Sin, who was in Sigma Phi Epsilon with Kania. 

Authorities say Kania was driving drunk on the wrong side of I-85 when he crashed into another car. The crash killed three people: Darlene McGee, 46, Felecia Harris, 49, and Jahnice Beard, 6. 

Kania, now 21, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony death by vehicle and one count each of driving while under the influence, driving with an open container, driving after consumption of alcohol under the age of 21, purchasing alcohol under the age of 21, consuming alcohol under the age of 21 and driving the wrong way on a two-lane highway.

He pleaded not guilty to three counts of second degree murder and one count of reckless driving.

Foster said he arrived at the crash site five to seven minutes after the incident occurred. He immediately assessed the damage, checking first the Suzuki sedan and its passengers and then proceeding to assess Kania’s Jeep Wrangler. 

“I looked in, did a quick assessment and told him to sit as still as he possibly could,” Foster said.

Foster has worked with the N.C. Highway Patrol since 2008 and has had training in assessing both skid marks and crash scenes to gain information following a car accident.

“There was skid from Ms. Harris’ vehicle but not Mr. Kania’s,” he said.

Roger Smith Jr., one of Kania’s attorneys, asked Foster if it was possible that Kania’s vehicle attempted to stop or decelerate without leaving skid marks. 

Foster said this was a possibility.

Despite Kania’s initial hesitation to submit to a Breathalyzer, which he later agreed to, Foster described Kania’s overall manner as polite and cooperative, noting that he willingly gave a sample of his blood to the EMT on the scene.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman asked Foster several questions about Kania’s state at the scene of the incident.

Foster said when firefighters arrived at the scene, Kania continued to honk his horn.

“He was telling the firefighters that they need to fucking help him,’” Foster said.

Sin, a junior at UNC, also testified.

A majority of Sin’s testimony dealt with a group text message he was a part of with Kania.

In the conversation, Kania, Sin and a third friend talked about going on a “blunt ride” in celebration of Kania dropping a summer class he had.

Sin said a blunt ride is when you drive around while smoking marijuana.

In the text conversation, Kania offered to drive and finished the conversation with the text, “I love driving high.”

Sgt. Michael Stuart of the N.C. Highway Patrol also began testifying before the court took an early evening recess due to the power going out at the courthouse. 

He confirmed he had been placed in charge of taking photos at the scene of the crime the night of the incident.

Stuart was shown eight photos from the crime by Nieman, which he confirmed he took, and they were placed into evidence.

city@dailytarheel.com

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