Family of man accused of causing triple fatal crash speaks out

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the first time, the family of a 20-year-old UNC student accused of causing a fatal Orange County crash that claimed the life of three people is speaking out.

Chandler Kania's family is speaking on his behalf as he remains in the hospital along with one of the crash victims.

Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, her friend Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, New York, were traveling back home when their vehicle collided with a Jeep driven by Kania, who is suspected of driving drunk. Kania was headed northbound on Interstate 85 in the southbound lane at exit 163.

Harris' youngest daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was upgraded to good condition on Tuesday, according to a UNC Hospitals spokesperson.

Attorneys for Kania released a statement Wednesday on behalf of the Kania family: "The Kania family is absolutely devastated about this tragedy. Their hearts, prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families. Chandler is fully cooperating with law enforcement and will continue to do so."

McGee, Harris and the two children were returning from a family reunion in Virginia when the crash occurred.

"That would be the last time we would see her," said Markeita Wade of her relative Darlene McGee. "[Harris] was a friend of hers that had traveled up with her for the first time. She'd come along to the family reunion. It's been a horrible experience."

McGee's family reunion also marked the anniversary of her mother's passing.

"I want to make sure there's justice," said Bakojo Ogungola, McGee's cousin. "I'm very interested in knowing if there was a toxicology report and if he was only drinking."

The North Carolina Highway Patrol has charged Kania with DWI, careless and reckless driving, possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage, possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age, and driving by person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol.

More charges are likely.

McGee's relatives planned to attend Kania's first appearance. The court hearing has been postponed until he's released from the hospital.

Meanwhile, McGee's relatives are raising money for her remaining family members. Click here to donate.

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