Bond increased for suspect in deadly three-vehicle crash on Independence Boulevard

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A judge increased the bond for a man charged in a suspected DWI crash on Independence Boulevard Saturday that killed one woman and hospitalized another.

Tyler Owen Smith, 30, is facing charges of second-degree murder, aggravated felony death by motor vehicle, habitual DWI, driving with a revoked license, impaired revocation, and a red light violation.

According to the Wilmington Police Department, 74-year-old Karen Cramer was attempting to turn south onto Independence Boulevard from the mall when Smith, who was traveling north, ran a red light and crashed into Cramer’s vehicle.

RELATED: One dead, one arrested after wreck in Wilmington.

Cramer was pronounced dead at the scene while her sister, who was a passenger in her vehicle, was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in serious but stable condition. A victim in a third vehicle was not seriously hurt, police said.

A field sobriety test was performed on Smith who was later arrested “after signs of impairment were detected,” police said.

Smith made his first court appearance on the charges Monday afternoon, where prosecutors said he was a danger to the community, citing his prior DWI cases in Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties.

Following Saturday’s crash, prosecutors say Smith got out of his vehicle and blamed Cramer for the collision.

Smith’s bond was increased from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

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