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.