WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It was a February night that ended in tragedy with three people dying after their SUV slammed into a tree. Speed was believed to be a major factor. Now, police say drugs may have also played a role in the crash.
Tire tracks, a scarred tree and a mangled SUV are the images left behind from the February 13th crash in the Forest Hills neighborhood that killed driver, Raphael Samuel, and two passengers. A fourth passenger survived.
Now, according to the StarNews, police say Samuel was under the influence of PCP and marijuana at the time. The report also says Samuel reached a speed of 95 miles per hour on the road riddled with speed humps.
Just before the crash, a WPD officer spotted the vehicle driving without its lights on. That officer then turned around to follow the SUV, which picked up speed as captured on surveillance video.
Many area residents said the impact was so bad that it felt like the SUV had actually hit their home.
Police say no one in the car was wearing a seat belt.
The sole survivor, 30-year-old Demond Jones, underwent surgery from a shattered hip and is expected to make a full recovery.