Heard in the Court of Appeals February 18, 2014.
Wayne County. No. 11 CRS 50145. Edwin G. Wilson Jr., Judge.
Roy Cooper, Attorney General, by Amanda P. Little, Assistant Attorney General, for the State.
Staples S. Hughes, Appellate Defender, by Katherine Jane Allen, Assistant Appellate Defender, for defendant-appellant.
STEELMAN, Judge. Judges McGEE and ERVIN concur.
Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 20 February 2013 by Judge Edwin G. Wilson, Jr. in Wayne County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 18 February 2014.
The trial court did not err in instructing the jury that bail bondsmen cannot violate North Carolina motor vehicle laws in order to make an arrest. Defendant was not authorized
to operate his motor vehicle at a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions because of his status as a bail bondsman. The trial court's instruction to the jury did not lessen the State's burden of showing that defendant's violation of North Carolina motor vehicle laws was intentional, willful, wanton, or reckless.
I. Factual and Procedural History
On the morning of 31 August 2010, Michael Kevin McGee (defendant), a bail bondsman, called 911 and advised law enforcement that he was pursuing George Mays (Mays), a person who had failed to appear in court. This pursuit was at a high rate of speed in the Salem Church Road area of Goldsboro. Defendant's fiancé e, Anecia Neal, was in the front passenger seat of defendant's car. Defendant requested assistance from law enforcement in apprehending Mays. He was traveling at speeds between 80 and 100 miles per hour in his pursuit of Mays. Ivan Carter, another bail bondsman, was also pursuing Mays, in a separate vehicle.
Salem Church Road is a two-lane road with a 45 miles per hour speed limit. Mays passed a vehicle operated by Brenda Cox, in a zone marked with a double yellow line. Defendant also attempted to pass Cox's vehicle, but did so at a curve, and lost control of his vehicle, which went down an embankment.
Ms. Neal was trapped inside the vehicle, with serious injuries. After being transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital, Ms. Neal died of her injuries.
On 7 May 2012, defendant was indicted for one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. On 20 February 2013, a jury found defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to a term of 13 to 16 months imprisonment. This sentence was suspended and defendant was placed on supervised probation for 36 months. The court imposed a ...