Lawsuit over ex-UNC student's wrong-way crash expanded

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Attorneys representing the family of a woman killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 added more defendants to a wrongful death lawsuit Monday.

Oxendine Barnes & Associates filed an amended complaint adding the SWDP Restaurant Group - owners of the Chapel Hill bar "He's Not Here" - and the Farrington Farm Restaurant - owners of La Residence Restaurant and Bar - to the lawsuit which already named 20-year-old Chandler Kania and his parents.

The law firm is suing on behalf of the family of Darlene McGee who died July 19. Her friend Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, New York, were also killed in the crash. Investigators say Kania was headed northbound on Interstate 85 in the southbound lane at Exit 163 when he hit the women's car head on.

Darlene McGee, Felecia Harris and Jahnice Beard

images courtesy family

Kania, from Asheboro, is charged in Orange County with obtaining alcohol with a false driver's license, three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by a motor vehicle, and one count of felony serious injury by a motor vehicle.

Kania was released from jail after his family posted a $1 million bond. UNC Chapel Hill said Monday that Kania is no longer enrolled there.

Investigators say Kania purchased and consumed alcohol before driving the wrong way down Interstate 85. In court in July, prosecutors said Kania gave troopers someone else's ID when he was pulled over that showed he was 21 years old.

Search warrants released allege Kania purchased and consumed alcohol at La Residence and He's Not Here.

As part of ALE's investigation in to the crash, agents cited John Edward Gualtieri, a manager and bartender at La Residence restaurant, for serving alcohol to a customer under the age of 21. It's unclear whether Gualtieri served alcohol to Kania. Gualtieri is the son of the restaurant's owner.

If convicted on all charges, Kania faces 40 to 50 years in prison.

PHOTOS: I-85 crash

Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was also seriously hurt in the crash. She has since been released from the hospital.

Attorneys for Kania released a statement on behalf of the Kania family after the crash: "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.

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