Troopers checking line of sight at the crash scene Monday. (Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)
CONNELLY SPRINGS, NC (WBTV) -
Steve Carroll could not stop crying Monday, still thinking about the accident Saturday that took the life of a 14-year-old.
"I'm so sorry," he said.
Carroll is charged with DWI, open container, and driving while license revoked. He is also facing other charges from the accident where the SUV he was driving hit a four-wheeler ATV on Baptist Camp Road in Connelly Springs.
Fourteen-year-old Jacob Wright, who was driving the ATV, was killed. His 13-year-old friend sitting behind him was critically hurt and remains hospitalized.
Carroll says he was not drunk but had taken some prescription medicine according to directions. He says he did not see the ATV coming into the roadway until it was too late. He had his 3-year-old granddaughter in the SUV with him and says he might have swerved differently had she not been in the vehicle.
Carroll was cited by the North Carolina Highway Patrol for not properly having his granddaughter restrained. The child seat was in the front passenger seat instead of the rear.
The impact split the ATV in half and destroyed the SUV. Investigators continue to look at what happened.
"We are not done yet," said Trooper Daniel Lane.
Carroll has not been charged specifically for the accident or the death. The District Attorney will make a decision on that after receiving reports from the investigators. They are trying to determine if Carroll should have seen the ATV in time to stop or maneuver around it.
Troopers also say the boys on the ATV made mistakes.
"Those are not allowed on the highways, they are off-road vehicles," said Lane.
The fact that the teens were not wearing helmets was a concern, too.
"By law, those under 16 are supposed to wear them," added Lane.
Carroll has been convicted before of DWI and had his driver's license revoked. He told WBTV he knows the families of both boys and realizes he was breaking the law by being behind the wheel of a vehicle.
"I know I shouldn't have been out there on the highway, I take the blame for that," He said. "If I could give my life to bring him back I would in a second, a New York second."