Charges stand against parents in fatal Raleigh teen crash

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Friday, July 24, 2015
Charges stand against parents in fatal Raleigh teen crash
Johnathan Taylor was 18 and had just graduated from Ravenscroft High School when his car slammed into a tree

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A judge in Raleigh Thursday refused to throw out the charges against two parents accused of aiding and abetting underage drinking at a wedding party before a teen died in fatal Raleigh crash.

Johnathan Taylor - the son of a state trooper - was 18 and had just graduated from Ravenscroft High School when his car slammed into a tree on Hunting Ridge Road near his North Raleigh home on June 28, 2014.

Prosecutors allege the teen had just left a reception at the home of prominent Raleigh physician, Charles Matthews and his wife Kim.

An attorney for the couple Thursday tried to have the charge thrown out because they say the Wake County District Attorney's Office could have prosecuted others who provided alcohol to the teen but did not.

"They decided not to proceed against the bartenders as I've discussed in the motion but did proceed against doctor and Mrs. Matthews," said attorney Hart Miles.

The DA's office did prosecute a clerk at a Cameron Village ABC store that allegedly sold the Matthews' teenage son a fifth of liquor shortly before the wedding.

But the caterer and his bartenders at the reception were not prosecuted although it is alleged they served several teens wine.

Miles said he suspects the Taylor family pressured the DA's office to primarily go after the doctor and his wife, but the prosecutor says the decision was ultimately not up to the Taylor family.

"Most families want to be consulted in cases in which someone has lost, lost their life. But just because the victim's family wants someone to be prosecuted, that's not the extent of where our inquiry ends," said prosecutor Jason Waller.

The judge said the Matthews had not proven they are being selectively prosecuted and ordered that their trial begin next week.

Earlier this month, the trooper and his wife, Greg and Carrie Taylor, filed a lawsuit under a law that makes businesses that serve and sell alcohol liable for injuries caused when someone underage is served or an adult is overserved.

The statute of limitations on the "Dram Shop" law is one year, and the Taylor's suit was filed two days before that limit was up.

The statute of limitations for individuals or trusts allows another year. And Thursday ABC 11 dug up court documents showing that the Matthews' have now been added to the civil suit. It now also names The Royal Tenenbaum, a real estate trust set up as owner of the Matthews' home in Raleigh's Hayes Barton neighborhood. The tax value on the home is listed at more than $2,300,000.

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