PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A man charged in connection with a fatal accident in Pender County earlier this month went before a judge Tuesday. Lance Powers had to be wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher.
The Pender County District Attorney's Office announced at a press conference Tuesday morning that Powers, the passenger in the vehicle, is now facing charges of second degree murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon and battery of an unborn child. The driver of the other vehicle, Mary Fontana, is six months pregnant. The condition of her unborn baby is not known at this time.
Powers was released from the hospital Tuesday morning and then arrested. He has two broken legs and a broken pelvis.
Officials say Powers was riding in the car with Jennie Moore, 27 of Burgaw, while she was driving on Highway 53. The car went off the road, Moore over-corrected, crossed the center line, and hit another vehicle head-on. Moore died at the scene.
According to First Sgt. W.L. Thurston, investigators have information that led troopers to believe Powers snatched the steering wheel, and they are trying to determine if he could be responsible for causing the accident. They are investigating to see if the act was done out of aggression.
Mary Fontana and two young children in her car were taken to the hospital. Officials say both children were in a child restraint at the time of the accident. Authorities say they appeared to have serious injuries. There is no word on their conditions.
According to the District Attorney's Office, Powers was cited at the time of the crash for careless and reckless driving, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, and no operator's license.
A judge set Powers' bond Tuesday at $370,000. He will be held at a prison facility in Raleigh because the Pender County Jail cannot care for him medically.
Powers is scheduled to be in court again on November 1 for a probable cause hearing.