MIDDLESEX, N.C. (WNCN) – The driver accused of plowing through a crowd of people in Middlesex Sunday night, killing three and injuring four others, is facing second-degree murder charges, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
Jimmy Pearce II, 37, of Zebulon, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, with a fourth charge pending, the sheriff’s office said.
The second-degree murder charges stem from the deaths of Carlton Ray Brooks, Garland Earp and Undra Montrell Taybron, arrest warrants show. Warrants also show that Pearce is facing two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury for injuring Roncellis Marshall and Larry Deans. Marshall and Deans are in fair condition, officials at WakeMed told WNCN.
The crash happened at Simon Road and Buckhorn Drive, which is adjacent to Buck Road and just inside the Johnston County line, near the Nash county line.
A family member of one victim told WNCN News that two cars were racing when one lost control, striking a group of people who were standing nearby.
North Carolina Highway Patrol got the call at 10:39 p.m. Sunday. Trooper Sgt. Curtis Manning tells WNCN that officials from the North Carolina Highway Patrol are now investigating whether there was a pre-arranged racing competition that led to the crash.
Manning told WNCN that at least one vehicle was traveling west on Simon Road when the crash happened.
WNCN Reporter Derick Waller was on scene as emotional family members were asked by authorities to identify loved ones who died in the crash.
The four injured pedestrians were taken to WakeMed for treatment, according to Manning.
Paramedics, Johnston County Sheriff’s officials and the North Carolina Highway Patrol were also at the scene, which was still active early Monday morning.
Pearce’s wrecked vehicle, a 1989 Ford Mustang, was visible at the scene.
Pearce is currently being held in Johnston County jail under a $1 million secured bond.