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Appeals court upholds Grooms conviction

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man who hit and killed a father and son cycling in Wilmington while driving drunk.

David and Trey Doolittle died in the April 3, 2011 crash. In March 2012, a jury convicted Grooms on two counts of second degree murder, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of reckless driving and one count of open container. Judge Paul Jones sentenced him to 24-30 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Grooms was under the influence of alcohol and bath salts when he hit the Doolittles. The Appeals Court ruled that a New Hanover County judge did not make a mistake by admitting evidence of Grooms's drinking habits and of prior incidents in he drank alcohol while driving.

"This case sets important precedent that impaired driving, especially by someone who drives habitually impaired, is no accident; where a defendant causes death, it may very well be murder," District Attorney Ben David said in a news release. "Mr. Grooms will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison, and David and Trey's legacy will help future victims for years to come."

David said the Grooms decision will be used in future prosecutions of impaired driving that result in a death, including State v. Anthony Thompson, in which Thompson is charged with second-degree murder for
the death of John Colville. Colville was a tow truck driver assisting a motorist with a flat tire when investigators say Thompson him him while driving while he was impaired. Thompson's case is scheduled for trial in November.

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