Authorities charged a Hartsville man Saturday with criminal responsibility for vehicular homicide in connection with the February death of a Wilson County woman.
Marco Douglas Wright, 24, was charged with criminal responsibility for vehicular homicide and DUI from indictments previously handed down by a Wilson County grand jury.
Tacola Mori Seay, 21, of Murfreesboro, was previously indicted May 17 for one count of vehicular homicide by intoxication; one count of vehicular homicide by recklessness; one count of DUI; one count of DUI with blood alcohol content over 0.08; and one count of driving on a suspended license.
Megan Carter, 26, of Mt. Juliet, died Feb. 10 at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Lebanon, and police believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.
According to police Chief Scott Bowen, Seay was driving Carter’s 2011 BMW westbound on Interstate 40 at about 3 a.m. when he lost control of the car, ran off the road and hit a tree near mile-marker 235.
Carter, who was seated in the back seat and not wearing a seat belt, was thrown through the windshield.
“The reason Wright was charged was because he allowed Seay to drive,” Bowen said. “Wright was the passenger, and Seay was driving at the time of the crash. Megan was in the back seat of the car. Wright admitted to driving the car earlier in the night.”
Bowen said the criminal responsibility for vehicular homicide charge carries the same penalties as vehicular homicide, if convicted.
Paramedics treated Seay and Wright for minor injuries at the scene.
“This is a tragic case – you’ve got lives ruined,” said Bowen. “Nothing we can do can bring her back, but our job is to try to speak for her.”
According to police, the crash involved what they call “The Deadly Triangle” – speed, alcohol and no seatbelt.
“If you put these three factors together in one accident, the odds of somebody dying are significantly increased,” said Bowen.
In 2011, the most recent year for complete crash data, 31 percent of fatalities involved speeding and 41 percent involved alcohol. Of occupants killed in crashes, 64 percent were not wearing seatbelts.
In response to the increasing number of incidents involving these factors, Bowen said Lebanon police stepped up speeding, impairment and seatbelt law enforcement.
“When used, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat car occupants by 45 percent and light truck occupants by 60 percent,” according to police.
Wright and Seay were each released on $50,000 bond the day of their respective arrests.
Democrat staff writer Sara McManamy-Johnson contributed to this report.