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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Five days after a father and son were hit and killed while riding their bikes up River Road, investigators need your help. The District Attorney, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and Highway Patrol say they are trying to find anyone who may have seen Thomas Howard Grooms Jr. driving his vehicle before the accident that killed David and Trey Doolittle.

A few hours before friends and family attended a memorial for the Doolittles Friday, investigators said they are moving forward to find justice for the father and son.

“We are committed to working together to do whatever it takes to make sure justice comes to this case and to also raise awareness so this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Sheriff Ed McMahon said.

Investigators say Grooms hit the Doolittles on River Road Sunday. Grooms is charged with two counts of felony manslaughter by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, felony possession of cocaine and careless and reckless driving among other charges.

“What we’re doing now is getting together all of the facts,” District Attorney Ben David said. “We want to know a little more about the surrounding circumstances of this incident. We’re appealing to the community for assistance.”

Investigators ask if anyone saw Grooms driving his Buick Lesabre Sunday to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 531-9845 with details. They say nothing is too small to report and could help build the case.

Although Highway Patrol says both Trey and David Doolittle were not wearing helmets when they were hit, David says he does not think this will factor into case.

“Even if we were to say that it was contributory negligence of a victim not to wear a seat belt, or wear a helmet or whatever it is, that does not prevent the criminal prosecution for someone’s conduct,” David said.

David said he expects this case to go to a grand jury. In previous cases similar to this, he said the Supreme Court has focused on the actions of the accused.

“What our Supreme Court has consistently held is that the actions of the victims is not what we’re talking about,” David said. “It’s the responsibility of the defendant.”

David said he knows many lessons will be learned from this accident, and he hopes to bring justice to Trey and David Doolittle.

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9 Comments on "Investigators looking for info on driver accused of hitting, killing cyclists"

2015 years 9 months ago

He either was at a friends or his own house. The accident happened around 9:00 on a Sunday morning. Alcohol isn’t sold after 2am and again until noon Sunday. He couldn’t have gotten served at a bar, restaurant or other properly licensed establishment. This guy is just a lowlife drunk that doesn’t care about anybody else.

2015 years 9 months ago

Yeah, Im sure they are trying to find out which bar served him last. Since most bars are open at 9am…..

2015 years 9 months ago

I sincerely hope that trying to round up witnesses is not a clue that they failed to check the guy’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident.

2015 years 9 months ago

It’s more like they want to know who served him alcohol last.

Culpability generally implies that an act performed is wrong but does not involve any evil intent by the wrongdoer. The connotation of the term is fault rather than malice or a guilty purpose. It has limited significance in criminal law except in cases of reckless homicide in which a person acts negligently or demonstrates a reckless disregard for life, which results in another person’s death.

2015 years 9 months ago

lessons, justice??? just the cold, hard facts. alcohol is an equal opportunity killer. sold everywhere with premeditation and malice aforethought. cui bono??? typical da and sheriff dog and pony show blaming the victims not wearing helmets.

Grand Ole Party
2015 years 9 months ago

Please point out the exact spot in the article where the DA or Sheriff blames the victims?????? Typical liberal blaming Law Enforcement instead of the suspect.

2015 years 9 months ago

Thank you Woodduck for having the wisdom to post the truth. Perfectly said, alcohol is “sold everywhere with premeditation and malice” but no one is wise enough to think outside the box about alcohol. It is truly an evil drug and our society pours it down our throats.

2015 years 9 months ago

Assumeing that the police did indeed test for alcohol, asking anyone who may have seen his vehicle probably on River Road between Southport and Wilmington seems a little unusual. If he did test over .08, drove into the bikers when they were not on the traveled portion of the road, that in itself should be enough for most any jury to convict him.

2015 years 9 months ago

Please. What they are doing is just building the strongest case against this person. This is a normal thing to do during tragedies of this level. If this were your family having to endure this pain and suffering would you not want the D.A. to have everything in place including a timeline of events. The more Ben David’s office has to present to the courts and the possible jury the better off you would be. People should be happy that we have a D.A.’s office that will ask for the comminity to help out with this and call and let them know if you saw this man prior to the running down of two innocent people.


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