Ex-UNC student pleads guilty in drunk driving crash that killed 3

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HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Former UNC student Chandler Kania has pleaded guilty in the July 2015 drunk driving crash that killed three people.

Kania pleaded guilty to several charges, including three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, but not guilty to the second-degree murder charges and the reckless driving charge.

Kania pleaded guilty to:

  • Three counts of felony death by motor vehicle
  • Felony charge of causing serious injury
  • Felony driving while impaired
  • Having on open container of alcohol
  • Driving after consuming alcohol while under age 21
  • Consuming alcohol under age 21
  • Two counts of using a false driver’s license
  • Driving the wrong way on a dual-lane highway

Orange County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman said the guilty plea was not part of any deal made by Kania and his attorneys.

Kania will still face trial for second-degree murder charges. Jury selection scheduled to begin Tuesday for that trial.

Sentencing for the guilty charges, including three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, will occur later. Maximum sentence is 714 months but the judge said it will be lower because Kania does not have a criminal record.

Officials said Kania drove drunk the wrong way on Interstate 85 in Hillsborough and crashing and killing Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, and 6-year-old Jahnice Beard of Brooklyn, New York.

The three victims were headed to Charlotte after traveling to Virginia for a family reunion.RELATED: Full Chandler Kania coverage

Officials said their Suzuki sedan was hit head-on by a Jeep Wrangler driven by Kania.

Kania was underage at the time of the crash in July 2015.

CBS North Carolina will update this story as more information becomes available.

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