July 13, 2015 / 9:36 PM / 4 years ago

Four spectators killed at illegal North Carolina drag race

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) - Four people were killed and three seriously injured in a North Carolina town when a driver lost control of his car during an illegal drag race and slammed into a group of spectators, authorities said on Monday.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged Jimmy Pierce II, 37, of Zebulon with three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Pierce, who suffered minor injuries, is in custody. The other driver in the race fled the scene and remains at large.

Pierce made his first appearance in court on Monday and is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond. Mike Reece, his court-appointed lawyer, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Killed at the scene were Carlton Ray Brooks, 42; Arrington Earp, 23; Garland Earp, 38, addresses unknown; and Undra Montrell Taybron, 40, of Wilson, the Highway Patrol said in a news release.

The three injured were taken to a hospital in Raleigh for treatment. They are Larry Deans, 43, of Bailey; Roncellis Marshall, 44, of Battleboro; and Ida Mae Rapa, 42, of Selma. Authorities described Rapa’s injuries as life-threatening.

The Highway Patrol said the race began at about 10:35 p.m. Sunday in the town of Middlesex, about 30 miles east of Raleigh.

Pierce was driving a 1989 Ford Mustang west in the westbound lane of a two-lane road and racing beside another car traveling west in the eastbound lane. Pierce drifted onto the right shoulder and hit a crowd gathered to watch the race, then collided with a tree, the Highway Patrol said.

The other driver, who has not been identified, fled the scene. The Highway Patrol said it is trying to gather information about the driver and the other car.

Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Walsh

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