Evidence suggests boyfriend charged in deadly boat crash was abusing meds

Larry Scott Duncan during his first court appearance.
Larry Scott Duncan during his first court appearance.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced the charges Tuesday morning.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced the charges Tuesday morning.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The boyfriend of a woman killed in a boating incident on Independence Day has been charged in the circumstances surrounding her death.

Larry Scott Duncan was indicted this week on involuntary manslaughter (class F felony), operating a boat while impaired and reckless operation of a boat, according to New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David. Duncan was in the hospital up until last Friday, delaying the arrest to this week.

David says Duncan crashed his boat into another vessel on the Northeast Cape Fear River July 4. He and Jennifer Faircloth, his long-term girlfriend, were heading to the Wilmington area in an effort to watch the fireworks along the waterfront.

Duncan's boat was leading as another boat, boarded with Faircloth's brother and two sons, followed behind. Duncan and Faircloth's daughter had moved to the second boat just before they crashed into another vessel heading in the opposite direction on the NE Cape Fear River. That boat was carrying three adults and one child.

According to Prosecutor Doug Carriker, all three boats were approaching a sharp turn in the river that some call a "blind turn."

"Duncan was driving his boat at an excessive speed for that particular location," said Carriker. "He was hugging, for him, the left bank of the river. The approaching boat was hugging the right bank of the river, which would prepare it to pass a boat on the right - which would have been the normal course of things –instead, the two boats collided."

The approaching boat drove on top of Duncan's boat, which was the smaller of the two, during the collision. Faircloth was killed on impact and was pronounced dead at the scene. Duncan suffered severe injuries and was taken to the hospital. He has since been released.

According to Carriker, a blood draw on scene and at the hospital showed Duncan had a .09 BAC, which is above the legal limit.

Carriker said Duncan was taking prescription medication at the time of the accident from an unrelated injury that happened prior to that day. He said evidence suggests Duncan may have been abusing the medication at the time of the incident.

According to Carriker, more than 200 different prescription medications were found in a truck that Duncan had at the scene. Hospital records also indicate Oxycodone was found in his blood stream, in addition to opiates.

Officials said no impairing substances were found on the other boats involved, and there was no sign of impairment of the drivers.

Duncan is expected in court again October 14. He will be given a court appointed attorney.

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