Two Drivers Charged in Southeast High Deaths
NEWS & RECORD
EXCLUSIVEGREENSBORO — The Highway Patrol has charged two men with involuntary manslaughter in connection with a February car crash that killed two Southeast High School students, Guilford District Attorney Stuart Albright confirmed Monday.
Joshua Daniel Pearman, 17, and Jason Lance Young, 20, are both facing two counts each of the manslaughter charge.
Young, listed in court records as a Pleasant Garden resident, was served with the warrant Sunday.
Pearman, of 4400 Burning Tree Drive in Greensboro, was not expected to be served until Wednesday, his attorney, Charles Lloyd, said.
The Highway Patrol believes that Young was involved in a drag race with Pearman sometime before the Feb. 27 crash, which killed two of Pearmans passengers. However, Young told investigators he wasnt racing Pearmans SUV at the time of the crash, Trooper T. J. Carter has said.
Young, who was scheduled to meet with a lawyer Monday, could not be reached by phone for comment.
Investigators believe Pearman was driving 70 mph to 75 mph in a 45-mph zone when he veered off the right side of Blakeshire Road in rural Guilford County about 12:15 a.m. The SUV came back onto the road, crossed the center line and struck a brick wall before hitting a tree.
Both 15-year-old Valerie Trull of Greensboro and 17-year-old Jordan Hodgin of Julian died of their injuries. Pearman and another teenager in the SUV, Lauren Marion of Greensboro, were treated at hospitals for their injuries.
Investigators have said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Reaction to the charges was mixed Monday. Some hailed prosecutors for seeking the highest charges possible under the law. Others criticized Albright for going after a kid who has already suffered with losing his friends.
Theres no question that the family and the defendant believe these charges are way too steep, Lloyd said. The boy who was killed was his best friend. He was also close to the girl who was killed. This has been very devastating to him.
Lloyd said his client may have been driving a bit too fast but the wreck could have happened to anyone.
Albright, who is prosecuting the case, said the charges are supported by the facts and the evidence.
But he said he could not discuss that evidence.
Albright took the somewhat unusual step of interviewing all of the witnesses himself before the charges were filed. That included speaking with witnesses not interviewed by the Highway Patrol, which forwarded him a report completed by the agencys crash reconstruction team.
We were as careful as we could be, he said.
In the past, prosecutors have filed lesser charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle in other car fatality cases not involving alcohol.
To secure a conviction for involuntary manslaughter, Albright will have to prove that the men either intentionally engaged in a race or intentionally drove recklessly and carelessly.
Trulls parents declined comment on the charges.
None of Hodgins relatives could be reached for comment Monday.
Mike Jackson, president of the Greensboro-based National Angel Protection Program, a group that promotes highway safety education for teenagers, said he felt the charges will send a message.
My main concern is what are all the other kids in the county looking at here, said Jackson, who is a friend to the Trull family. You have to go after them with a charge not only suitable for the crime committed but one that will be a deterrent for the rest of the kids that are watching.
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