Passenger charged with murder in Pender crash

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Submitted: Tue, 10/23/2012 - 6:49pm
Updated: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:16pm

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A passenger involved in a fatal car accident in Pender County earlier this month is now charged with murder. Investigators say Lance Powers grabbed the steering wheel of the car, forcing it into oncoming traffic.

The accident killed one woman and injured four other people.

Tuesday morning, Powers, 26, went straight from the hospital to court. He made his first appearance in Pender County Court on a stretcher.

“We have determined that what happened on October 12 was no accident,” District Attorney Ben David said. “It was murder, and we are charging Mr. Powers with that and nothing less.”

Powers is charged with second degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, assault with a deadly weapon and battery on an unborn child.

Mary Fontana, who is pregnant, was in one of the cars involved in the accident with her two children. Her mom says she cannot believe the crash may have happened on purpose.

“It was very scary, and the pain that was inflicted on my family and on the other people’s family that were in that vehicle is very upsetting, because it wasn’t just an accident,” Lynn Fontana said.

Jennie Moore, 27, who was driving Powers, died in the crash. Investigators say they believe Powers grabbed the steering wheel after he and Moore got into a fight.

Lynn Fontana says there is no reason for anyone to be that reckless.

“I was very shocked and very scared thinking there’s people on the road that could do this kind of harm to somebody like this,” she said. “It could have happened to anybody. It didn’t have to be my daughter and her kids, it could have been anybody.”

Powers is expected to be back in court November 1. For now, he was will stay in a facility in Raleigh that can attend to his injuries.

Everyone else involved in the accident has been released from the hospital.

As for the battery of an unborn child charge, David says the law was adjusted recently to clarify that the defendant does not have to know a person is pregnant to be charged.

Fontana, 19, is six months pregnant and suffered serious injuries in the crash. Relatives say they will not know if the baby suffered any injuries until it is born.


  • Justice for Jennie says:

    I’m sorry for your loss and I hope things work out in the end…no one deserves to go through what you’re going through…if it weren’t for the back seat passenger the man would have been considered a survivor rather than the person who killed….boggles me…I don’t think he meant for anyone to survive…I believe he had murder suicide intentions based on inquiries made by ppl that knew him personally.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank God that at least one DA is these 3 counties is doing something about motor vehicle deaths. The person who killed my mother in Brunswick County is only being charged with a misdameanor. There is something very wrong with our justice system.

  • Guest28405 says:

    If you read the previous story’s comments, the passenger and the driver had been in a relationship and were fighting. He had made numerous threats to her. And there was another person in the back seat of their vehicle who witnessed the accident. Hence the investigation and the charges.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Sounds to me like the passenger in the back seat told what happened. Vengeance? Do you even know the definition? Someone spoke up. We know it was not the driver, it apparently was not him. Figure it out. Maybe, just maybe the cops know something you and the rest of the public do not. You sound like a family member of the one being charged.

  • Guest12345 says:

    It is actually more common then you think for a passanger to “jerk” the steering wheel. Numerous reasons can be involved, however one of the most common reasons is out of anger. I am not saying that is the case in this situation, however the DA could not press charges against someone unless there was valid evidence/reasoning behind the charges.
    Until a case is prepared and placed in full action all evidence or reasoning isn’t released.
    I find it funny how people think that it is our right to know everything going on in a case that has absolutley nothing to do with us. It is more of people not having enough to do with their time other then being nosey.

  • GuestVader says:

    Has anyone heard why he jerked the wheel? Maybe the driver was texting (not out of the realm of possibility) and crossed the center line and he tried to avoid a collision? Something has not been told here………a passenger does not act like this for no reason. It does sound, however that the DA is exhibiting more vengeance than justice.

  • GuestVader says:

    I am not associated with any of those involved. Much more was added to this story since my original comment was made. At that point in time, very few details were published.

  • Justice for jennie says:

    From personal experience when you have a boyfriend with mental issues they tend to get an IDGAF (understatement) Attitude….you know, the crap that scares the living day lights out of you…the type you refer to when you’re trying to warn your child about “creepy men” to stay away from. You know! The type they make movies about on Lifetime….yeah… There you go…and what kind of monster shows no emotion other than calm and comfortable after causing (intentional or not) the horrific death of his girlfriend and seriously injuring two women two children and an unborn child!!! In court all he could come up with is how he can get his $380,000 bail deducted??

  • bondamount says:

    Any news on bond amount? Seen it was judge Blackmore so it may have been a $100 unsecured…..just wondering

  • Justice for Jennie says:

    Bond = $370,000

  • SurfCityTom says:

    if he can, will he post it?

    After all of his medical issues are resolved? At the County’s expense.

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