Local/State

Man in deadly crash charged again

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eight years ago, the Triangle was shocked by a street racing crash on I-540 that killed four teens.

Now, Eyewitness News has learned Chris Petersen, who was one of the drivers in the incident, is facing more than half of a dozen new charges including DWI and hit-and-run.

The first time an Eyewitness News camera ever focused on Petersen, he was weeping on the side of the I-540 not long after the car he was racing wrecked and killed the four high school students. Petersen later pleaded out to lesser charges.

He's been on camera many times after that - including in 2006 when Eyewitness News caught him driving while serving probation for the wreck case - probation that banned him from driving. He was sent to jail for a short time, but finished his parole.

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Felicity Gault, who says she went out with Petersen a couple times last year, now claims he "threw her under the bus" when he had a wreck in September.

According to a Raleigh Police report, he crashed his car on Lynn Road, took the keys and ran to his nearby apartment. When police found him there, he was intoxicated but denied driving the car.

When they asked him how he got a scratch on his head, he said he had a fight with his girlfriend.

"He told me he was drinking and he wrecked his car and he left the accident and told me to tell the cops about the scratch," Gault said.

When she did, she was arrested for assault, spent hours in jail and $1,000 on an attorney who got the charges dropped.

Petersen was eventually charged with hit-and-run, filing a false report and driving without a license.

And this month, while that case was still pending, Petersen was arrested again.

"He had been arrested for DWI," Dee Welch said.

Welch saw Petersen's picture in a local mug shot magazine while waiting in line at a store. Welch's daughter, Jamie, was one of the four teens killed in the I-540 wreck.

"I just think it's a really horrible pattern and unfortunately I don't think he's going to stop," Welch said.

The man who has prosecuted Petersen in the past says he isn't surprised by all the new charges.

"We're finding more and more about Mr. Petersen and he's had several opportunities to do the right thing," prosecutor Jeff Cruden said. "Any time he's had an opportunity, he hasn't done the right thing."

Eyewitness News attempted to reach Petersen by phone several times, but he never answered.

He is scheduled to be in court next week to face a judge on the September charges.

(Copyright ©2014 WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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