State DOT will review road where fatal crash happened involving Charlotte minister's family

Published: Jun. 30, 2015 at 6:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2015 at 6:54 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WBTV) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation will review the stretch of road on Highway 17 near Wilmington where a Charlotte area family was hit driving home from vacation.

The wreck killed 2-year-old Dobbs Eddings and his little brother Reed, who had to be delivered by emergency surgery. Their parents, Hadley and Gentry Eddings survived the crash.

NC DOT officials say it is standard to review the condition of a road or intersection in fatal crashes. Several people living in the community have posted their concern on social media about the intersection. NC DOT expects the report to be finished by the end of July.

Matthew Deans has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and traffic violations. Investigating troopers with the NC Highway Patrol says Deans failed to slow down and rear-ended the Eddings caravan, which was stopped at a traffic light.

The investigation report said the vehicle driven by Gentry Eddings was hit first and ran off the road. Then, the report says, Deans truck slammed into a vehicle being driven by Hadley, who was eight months pregnant. Her son, Dobbs, was restrained in a child safety seat in the back. Hadley's vehicle then hit her in-laws, who were driving in front of her.

The report says the box truck Deans was driving swung around after nearly flipping and hit Hadley's vehicle again.

Toxicology tests are still pending on Deans, but troopers say there was nothing to indicate impairment at the scene. Deans was traveling 55 miles per hour right before impact, and hit his breaks reducing his speed by 5 mph when his truck and Eddings vehicle first collided.

Gentry Eddings is a pastor at Forest Hill Church in Ballantyne. A community fund drive to help pay for medical expenses has raised more than $200,000.

At the service for Dobbs and his brother, Gentry told those in attendance that he forgave the driver."We have in our hearts forgiven the man who did this," he said.

Deans worked for a local seafood company near Wilmington. He's currently out on bond.


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