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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A jury is deciding the fate of a man accused of hitting and killing a father and son cycling on River Road last year.

Thomas Grooms took the stand in his own defense during his murder trial. He is accused of killing David and Trey Doolittle last April.

Grooms took the stand after the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Grooms said the night before the accident, he met up with a friend named Pat. He said he and Pat snorted a white powder after Pat told him it was not illegal. He then drove her to Hampstead to get more of the powder. Yesterday SBI agents testified lab results showed a powder found on grooms at the scene of the accident was mephedrone, which is more commonly known as bath salts. The drug was not illegal in North Carolina at the time of the crash, but is now. He also admitted he gave Pat $200 for bath salts and made two separate trips to pick it up. Grooms said it had a much bigger effect on him than he thought.

Grooms said his decision to drive home was the worst decision of his life, but he said he was tired, but not impaired while driving home the morning of the accident. Grooms said he was up for more than 24 hours at time of crash.

Grooms denied he ran off the road three times the day of the crash, as other witnesses testified. Instead, he said he only ran off the road once, and that was when he hit the Doolittles. Grooms said witnesses had no reason to lie, but he said they were not truthful about his driving that day. He said witnesses exaggerated in their testimony because they were upset about the Doolittles’ death.

Grooms said he felt “numb” after the accident and didn’t help the Doolittles, because he said if he stood up he felt he would pass out. He said he knew right away that someone he hit had died.

Grooms also told the jury he lived out of his car, which was why there were liquor bottles inside.

After Grooms ended his testimony around noon, his son took the stand.

WWAY’s Katie Harden is in the courtroom. She is providing live updates via Twitter and Facebook. You can follow those updates at twitter.com/wway or facebook.com/wwaytv3.

We’ll have a complete wrap-up tonight on WWAY NewsChannel 3 starting at 5 p.m.

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25 Comments on "Grooms case goes to jury"

Beach Bum
2015 years 9 months ago

Call me crazy, but why would you put a bike path on a two lane road that is well traveled including large semi trucks and heavy construction equipment, is poorly lit at night and has wickedly blind curves?

I am not the smartest tool in the tool box, but I do know physics. And physics says that a 160lb man and 130lb boy will loose against a 4000lb vehicle, regardless if the driver is intoxicated or not, every time.

Maybe the planners and forefathers of the county should give some consideration in finding a more safe location for the bikers to bike. Otherwise, take you chances and roll the dice if you think you can outwit or beat physics.

Just throwing it out there.

2015 years 9 months ago

so lucky that we have a living, breathing saint living right here amongst all us common sinners.

Das Weibstück
2015 years 9 months ago

He didn’t claim to be a Saint. He said he had never been to jail like the majority of society. Guess you sat in there a few times?

2015 years 9 months ago

Nice reading comprehension skills. I never claimed to be a Saint. I am an average citizen who does not abuse alcohol, has never ever touched drugs, and I respect my fellow citizens which includes not making poor decisions to engage in wreckless behavior. Have you ever heard of the saying “do the crime…do the time??”

Ding ding…your turn. Oh please hurry and respond back to my post, I am waiting with baited breath to read more of your words of wisdom and knowledge.

2015 years 9 months ago

So he wants us to believe that the woman who claims he’s a habitual drunk driver is lying. That this is the first and only time he has ever done drugs, drank excessively and driven his car. And he wants us to believe that the person in the car in front, behind him, and the other bicyclists he almost ran over, are all lying about his swerving off the road several times before hitting these 2 men. Wow how unfortunate he must be that the one time he decides to drive while impaired, these 2 men on bikes appear out of no where and everybody who saw it that day is lying. Worst luck ever. I have never known anybody who has been busted for DWI to get caught the one and only time they did it. Unfortunately, most people I know who drink and drive claim that they drive better while impaired,and that they are careful enough not to get caught, and are even proud of the fact that they do it so often and don’t get caught. If you know that drinking and driving is illegal, and your defense is that yes I was drinking and drugging excessively and driving, but I didn’t think I was impaired, doesn’t fly with me. In fact, I don’t even want someone so ignorant of what is right and wrong allowed to be driving on the streets that I drive on.

2015 years 9 months ago

opinionated, dispassionate, ignorant. rot, rot in hell?. so much sadness already happened. nothing will help. there is no justification or vindication for loss of life. it just happens. whether accidental, collateral, purposeful, unintentional or intentional, loss of life is loss of life. no more. no less. loved ones gone. loved ones left behind. life in prison, execution, hanging? are you kidding me? idiots.

he is not trying to defend his actions. he takes full responsiblity for the lives he’s taken. he didn’t set out to kill anyone. he just wanted to get home after a night of stupidity.

he didn’t make it home.

the doolittles didn’t make it home. they are at peace. he lives in hell already. won’t matter if he gets 5 years or 40 years. he has to live with the fact that during his short life he made such a grave error in judgment that he took two more along with his at the moment of impact. both families suffer the loss of loved ones. no one wins. they all lose.

no conviction will heal or repair the damage done. it will only satisfy the public’s insatiable need for a punishment.

he never should have been charged with second degree murder. there is no malice. he was just a lonely guy out to impress a woman who took advantage of his generosity and need for companionship.

unless you or any one you know, has never ever taken a risk and driven home impaired to any degree, you have no room to judge.

i think back to the few times i was young and stupid, older and stupid, and i hang my humble head acknowledging luck, gratitude, and relief that i never was hurt and never hurt anyone else. did i ever have malice? we all know the last thing in the world anyone is thinking about when partying with friends is “am i going to endanger lives when i make the decision to drive home or anywhere else tonight?” the last thing in the world an impaired person is capable of doing is having any ability to make rational logical choices that would protect him or anyone he comes in contact with. impairment comes on so fast that by the time you are there you are not able to make good decisions. we capitalize on drinkers, drug users, impaired people. alcohol and drug abuse keep the whole system churning. keeps the money flowing. one deed supports the other. criminals need lawyers. lawyers needs courts. courts need prosecutors. prosecutors need criminals and it will never stop.

are the bars closing? is alcohol disappearing from the shelves? are we doing anything with what we as a society have chosen to keep legal? nope, its all still there. bars still open. shelves still fully stocked. liquor stores and grocery stores still offering every brand, every color, every strength of any type, every size, every flavr of wine, beer and alcohol anyone could ever imagine to want or try. so what good does it do?

next week it will be someone else. tomorrow there will be probably 15 new DWI charges. did they kill anyone? should they be charged with wanton disregard for life and probability of lost life? the element of possibility exists whether or not it evolves into a reality, every single second of every single day when that random person gets behind the wheel of a car.

doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever if its 9am or 2am. there is no unwritten rule or expectation that the streets are lined with drunks at 2am when the bars close, anymore than the awareness that it could be at any moment of any day during any 24 hour period.

there is a distinct line between malicious intent and random tragedy. just remember, for every drunk or drugged person who gets in a wreck and is killed or kills someone else, or both, there are probably several hundred more impaired people on the road at the same time, who were lucky enough to make it home.

how could anyone with half a brain think he set out to ruin his life, kill two people, break a hand full of hearts and spend his life behind bars? malice? no. vehicular homicide? yes.

2015 years 9 months ago

And I am sure he will find God in jail too. This scum bag piece of trash is like all criminals, the piss & moan and express all sorts of remorse when they are caught and facing the big house. What they truly regret is getting caught..not what they did. Rot in hell Grooms!

Das Weibstück
2015 years 9 months ago

“Poor old man”….. So he didnt do anything wrong? Are you drunk or just completely STUPID? You would be singing a different tune if it was your family that was run over and killed.

Your post title is ridiculous and I guarantee you have no idea what it means based on the book it is in. What it means is if you judge others you better be ready to be judged by the same standard.

2015 years 9 months ago

Judge a man based on the content of his character. Show me your friends and I will show you your future! This piece of trash has the character of a criminal, and as such I will judge him! I don’t need to be a Christian or fancy lawer or a judge to see what he did, I just have to listen to the multiple eye witnesses to his behavor in April last year. And his true friends were drugs, alcohol, and flaunting the law. Henceforth his future is an 8 x 12…lets hope for the rest of his life.

2015 years 9 months ago

In addition to your rampant paranoia about Christians hiding behind every bush waiting to pounce on you, you obviously have no concept concerning what’s right and what’s wrong in the rest of your life either. The guy made a habit of driving while impaired and now two people are dead as a result of that.

We’re you born this stupid or do you really work at it?

Burger Boy
2015 years 9 months ago

you people on here besmirching the name of that poor old man should be ashamed. i’m not a christian b/c i think that stuff is stupid but i’d be willing to bet that a lot of you people screaming for his head on a pole are supposedly christians and think your so holy. oh well that old man didn’t do anything wrong and hopefully he will be proven innocent in court.

2015 years 9 months ago

Hear him out….seriously????? He will answer to God, what ever the verdict, he still will ultimately answer To God.

Grand Ole Party
2015 years 9 months ago

We agree on the 20 to 40 years, he should be hung instead. Now go back to your cell.

2015 years 9 months ago

Im sorry for those lives tooken but I sat in a cell with this man and I can honest say he don’t need 20 to 40 years Ben David is only trying to prove something and for y’all to sit here and call this man out his name is wrong mr.Tom u got my support but Mr.Tom I do belive you should get atleast five years Plain. In simple you took two lives from a women before you judge this man give him a chance to tell you what happened

2015 years 9 months ago

You have got to be kidding me! This has got to be a joke to get a comment war going. This is not a case built on circumstantial evidence. There were eye witnesses to what this POS did. And if you shared a cell with him, you are a POS too! I will judge people! If you were a good person you would not be in jail..period! How is it that I have gone my entire life without commiting a crime (except a speeding ticket) getting arrested or put in jail? I will tell you how, because I follow the golden rule…PERIOD! Grooms made a concious decision to take actions that put peoples lives at risk. If he had picked up a gun and just aimlessly fired in in a random direction and someone was hit and killed, would you then say “don’t judge him?” Instead this scum bag got blasted on booze, then snorted a non-FDA approved “drug”, and then got behind the wheel of a car. Finally, based on your comment about Ben David, sounds like you have an ax to grind! With your thought process you must be part of this sorry azz society that refuses to take personal accountability to heart. Instead you blame others for the crappy situation you find yourself in, look in the mirrow and you will find the reasons for all that is bad in your life. I am sure some liberal pinko will comment about poverty and abuse and some other garbage to which my response will be, we all control our own destiny. Just watch the movie Pursut of Happiness, do you think he had it easy??? No, but he made things happen for himself and his child. As I said before….Grooms should ROT in Jail…and then he should Rot in Hell!

2015 years 9 months ago

I agree. , I hope he gets what’s coming to him but I don’t think loading up on a bunch of charges like second degree murder and felony death is the wish to go. Maybe the DA’s office is doing that in hopes of a conviction on one of other

2015 years 9 months ago

…”executed according to North Carolina Law” ? He deserves to be punished to the full extent of North Carolina law, not executed. You must be referring to the North Carolina Law on the planet Xenon because the law in this North Carolina most certainly does not call for his execution.

The Chair
2015 years 9 months ago

This man deserves to be executed according to North Carolina Law.

2015 years 9 months ago

You need to check the legal definition of malice. You are confusing malice with intent. No one has claimed intent.

Also, I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that David & Trey Doolittle are better off because they are dead and at peace…you may want to rethink that part of your comment.

Insatiable need for punishment? You think he should have gotten a smack on the hand and a “don’t you EVER do this again”? People have to take responsibility for their mistakes, even if they wear halos every other day of their lives. When we stop requiring responsibility, our whole society will spiral to destruction.

I’m glad Grooms appears to understand that, given what he said at trial.

2015 years 9 months ago

Holy Cats! Do you really believe all of your liberal dribble? It appears the jury agrees with me, 20 years behind bars until he is eligible for parole. How ya like them apples??

Life is full of choices all of which contain intended and unintended consequences that we all have to live with. Grooms CHOSE to take drugs, he CHOSE to drink, he CHOSE to drive. The result was two innocent people died on a beautiful Sunday morning while legally riding bicycles. You are the type of person that wants to go through life not accepting responsibility for your actions and I am sure were you in the same place as Grooms you would choose to drink, drive, and then feel sorry that you got caught.

May I profile you, you are a fequent drinker, you use illegal drugs, you drive while impared and think you should be able to judge for yourself when you are impared and not impareed. You think the world owes you something just for being born. I just hope that the police catch you driving while impared, throw your sorry azz in jail, and take your license away for ever before you kill someone. Although, you are the type of person who would drive without a license because you are….entitled! I just hope for society’s sake that you have not yet and never do breed.

Get a life liberal loser!

2015 years 9 months ago

(Something you obviously have no concept of)

The sentence will keep this immature, pathetic loser off the streets and prevent him from killing anyone else. He’s in his sixties and he’s out acting like a fifteen year-old, shoving crap up his nose.

He earned and richly deserves this sentence.

2015 years 9 months ago

The Doolittles did not make it home because a man decided to drink alcohol, consume drugs and after partying all night, he also decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. This was no random tragedy. This was a decision made by a man who chose to put mind-altering chemicals in his body. There is precedence for those who kill people while driving impaired, to be charged with and convicted of second degree murder. Grooms’ actions fit the charge of second degree murder.

Whether or not he set out to ruin his life, he took on that responsibility, when he consumed the drugs and alcohol. Do you think that the Doolittles set out to ruin their lives that day? They were simply a father and son out for a bicycle ride. They should have arrived back home safely. They did not because a self-consumed person put chemicals into his body then got behind the wheel of a car.

2015 years 9 months ago

Okay just to put this out there.. I know him VERY well and Im not going to sit here and defend what he did because yes he does need to be punished for what he did but not to this degree. Two other people did the same thing, got drunk, on the same road, and both killed atleast 2 people and One got 5 months and the other got 4 years. And your going to send him to jail for 24 to 40 years.?! Are you freaking serious.??!! And he isnt a bum, he doesnt live in a car. He is a great man who did something VERY stupid. He even apologized for it and said he takes full responsibility and said the will literaly beat hiself up for the rest of his life.. He knows what its like to lose a kid. He lost his son at a young age too, so to sit here and call him a Bastard, Bum, and to say he should rot in hell and be hung.??? Y’all are really either ignorant or just plain stupid. But to the people who are looking at it from both sides and they understand that yes he messed up and he should to time for it and be punished but he shouldnt have all these jank charges, thank-you. But to every one who is saying Hang him, they need to take his life. Y’all are very ingnorant. The Doolittles are in my prayers 100% but so is Mr.Grooms… Everyone needs to look at both sides cause right now there is someone getting killed by a drunk driver but your not judging them, only Mr.Grooms. And one more thing, he is NOT a drugie or a heavy drinker. I’ve known him a VERY long time.. I would know..!

Das Weibstück
2015 years 9 months ago

Someone hands you white powder and says its not illegal so you SNORT it !! LMAO This man is a total druggie and drunk.He lives in his car but spends his money on drugs and booze. Life in prison for killing 2 decent people who contributed to society.

So Tragic
2015 years 9 months ago

I know Mr. Grooms and he is a nice man. Unfortunarely he has obviously turned to substance abuse which is why I’m sure he was homeless and had failed business ventures.

With that…if you mske bad decisions that cost the lives of others, then your life as you know it should end too! So tragic for both families involved……He should serve the max…..


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