Second cyclist involved in Sunday’s accident dies

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Submitted: Mon, 04/04/2011 - 10:36pm
Updated: Tue, 04/05/2011 - 7:23pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The second cyclist involved in the Sunday morning accident died Monday night. 17-year-old Trey Doolittle was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center after the accident in critical condition, and later succumbed to his injuries. His father was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash Sunday.

The Doolittle family has released the following statement: “The family would like to thank the community for their prayers and support. They appreciate the outpouring from New Hanover High School and all of Trey’s friends. They have made the decision to donate Trey’s organs so other families can receive his lifesaving gift. They will share more information about services for Trey and his father David when they are available.”

A candlelight vigil to honor Trey is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday at New Hanover High School.

Thomas Grooms, the driver troopers say hit the Doolittles with his Buick sedan, has a list of charges ranging from felony death by motor vehicle to felony DWI and cocaine possession. Troopers have sent Grooms’s blood to the SBI in order to test for all substances. They expect to have the results back to the DA’s office soon.


  • Sheryl Robertson says:

    Our 18 yr. old son was killed last year as an innocent victim also. Justin was a passenger in a car driven by a boy that decided to turn in front of a vehicle. I hear that the driver was on a medication that may have hindered his decision making. These drivers along with the alcohol users should not be allowed to ever operate a vehicle. From experience, there are no words that can be said to this family. Just show them lots of love and be availabe to listen without making a comment. We may never meet but I hurt with you from the bottom of my heart. Written in love.

  • A mom says:

    I must say that their gift of life to other families is beyond brave. May God bless they for their donation of life to others.

  • Guest987678 says:

    To the family and friends of David and Trey – the community mourns with you in your loss. May the many prayers of support help comfort you during this time of unimaginable grief. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • gdiannee says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! I am praying that the Lord will give great comfort to your family. As hard as it is, plz don’t let hate consume you so that you can’t feel anything else. My heart breaks when I think about what you and your family must be going thru! Just know you have the thoughts and prayers of many!!!!

  • Guest123 says:

    This is so sad, a father and son out riding bikes enjoying their day. Along comes another drunk driver killing innocent people!
    Another family and firends suffering because of a drunk!
    My 28 yr old daughter was killed in Brunswick county less then 2 years ago by a drunk.
    WHEN will the legal system treat these drunks who kill our loved ones the same way they treat other murderers???
    Dead is DEAD!! These drunk drivers killing our loved ones deserve life in prison just as they have taken our loved ones lives and have taken our life as we knew it before they made the choice to drive drunk and kill………
    stop pampering this group of murderers……….

  • Richelle says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your son and husband. My heart sank when I heard Trey died. But he lives on through the organs that were donated <3

  • Guest1250 says:

    The recent accident on River road that killed a father and son bicyclists is a real sad and too often story in our culture. I am so saddened by this incident and can not imagine the horror the family and friends of the victims is going through. However I am more saddened that we as a culture are now accustomed and tolerant by such. And by our tolerant and acceptance have empowered such. Examine the way we treat cases like that and you will see how tolerant we have become. This is not an incident of someone making a mistake, this is a deliberate act of murder. This man deliberately got behind the wheels of a car and thus deliberately turned his vehicle into a lethal weapon, that weapon took the lives of a father and son. We tolerate this in the name of personal pleasure and personal freedom. We value personal freedom and pleasure more than the freedom and the very life of others. When are we going to confront this problem head on and stop dancing around the devastating effects of alcohol and drugs. The devastating effects of which have been and will continue to be more than the effect of wars and terrorist attacks will ever be. Examine the broken families, health effect and murders in the name of this personal freedom. The price is too high. We have proven over and over that we are not responsible enough to handle such personal pleasure and freedom. So now we mourn the murder of two innocent individual, in the name of personal pleasure

  • anne says:

    To the family of this young man and his dad – may God comfort you in this time of loss. Your loved ones were murdered by someone who did not think of anyone but himself, and justice will prevail. Don’t focus on him and what he did, but draw on God to help you focus on the memories that they leave behind. I don’t know your family, but I did see the tribute to your son on T.V. last night and the outpouring of love for that young man was awesome. You were truly blessed!

  • taxpayer says:

    You begin by calling or emailing your state Senator or Representative demanding that the law be changed to manadate jail/prison time for offenses such as these. Until our elected officials decide to “get tough”, the courts can only work with the law(s) that are currently on the books.

    In many Middle-East countries, a DWI is punishable by death.

  • Guest11 says:

    Do you or anyone else have any idea what we, as the public, can do to start pushing for crimes involving alcohol and drugs to become mandatory prison sentences? I would be more than willing to join in the fight.

  • Jill says:

    David’s father was my pastor when I was in college in Illinois and now is a counselor in our church in Florida. This family has a beautiful, Godly heritage. My thoughts and prayers are with this family that God will wrap his arms around them bringing them comfort and peace in ways they could never imagine in this time of immense grief.

  • GuestLeslie says:

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has made a large impact on alchol and driving, maybe something can be learned from them in how they developed quickly and strongly an organization that is powerful and progressive.

  • Guest1 says:

    I just want my brother and my stepdad back.. i can never forgive you for what you did to this family. there was 5, now there is 3.. they lost their lives, you should lose your too.

  • Ti says:

    There are no words that I can say to this family that has lost a husband/father and a son/brother, my heart broke that morning driving down River Road and the more I hear the more it breaks. May god be with all of you and comfort you through this time. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  • need more says:

    There have NOT been enough DUI arrests. When they set up a check point at the WB bridge or around downtown, I find it hard to believe that there are usually only 6 or so dui arrests. The county used to have DUI/license checkpoints on River rd quite frequently. Since the City has taken over up to almost Saunders rd, I have seen 1 in the last 1 1/2 yrs and that was at 4pm. There used to be a lot set up on myrtle grove rd too but not anymore.

    They need more and all the time. Sad when you sit at a restaurant that has a bar and watch some one down 5+ drinks and walk out to their car and swirve away.

  • cj says:

    The story of the father and son is so very sad. Prayers to the family.

    Unfortunately, this family is far from alone.

    WHEN will our legal system truly crack down on drunk and impaired drivers? Do they ever receive punishment before they actually kill the innocent who are forced to share the road with them?

    How many times do you hear of someone dying at the hand of a drunken, drugged etc… who –guess what—had been charged with the same think on multiple previous occasions!

    Shamefully, Wilmington is the 10th drunkest city in the country. I for one, am not proud of that.

    I don’t care what it takes, maybe losing liquor licenses for those bars who are irresponsible (there is one downtown that advertises “STUDENT SPECIAL – ALL YOU CAN DRINK ONLY $15″. The way I add it up – most college student are not yet of legal drinking age – how does that work out at the bars?

    PLEASE law enforcement – get these drunken hazards to life and limb off the roads and please court system – how about we actually punish the guilty. I for one don’t care if they can never drive again. Driving is a privilege – not a right.

  • Ryan88 says:

    A father and son dead because of another drunk driver.

    My sympathies to the family. It’s too awful to imagine what they’re going through.

    Both were wearing helmets and yet they still died. The severe impact must have caused internal hemmorrhaging.

    When I bike this weekend they will be on my mind.

    I think New Hanover County has had one DWI arrest too many! Time for the community to wake up and face the alcohol problem that permeates this county!

    Does anyone represent Mothers Against Drunk Drivers in New Hanover County?

  • Tiffany says:

    The bike ride is actually starting at Murray Middle School which is located on Halyburton Memorial Parkway, not the Halyburton Park. 350 people have signed up so far, how wonderful the community is pulling together for this.

  • Do Something For Doolittle says:

    Correction- the event will be at Murray Middle school (next to Ashley High). Please come show your support!

  • Do Something For Doolittle says:

    Please check out this page that Tom Clifford has set up on Facebook. It will be a fundraiser at Halyburton Park on 17th extension.; Sunday, April 10 from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

  • Vicky says:

    . . . or eat their lunch with 3 or 4 beers, leave and drive off BACK TO WORK!!! Happens every day.

  • for the record says:

    Actually, he has no record….shocking I know. But, it only takes one mistake to cause a tragedy. I hope he doesn’t get off easy b/c it’s his “first offense”. California is a “3 strikes” and you’re out state….I say NC should be a “One and Done” state!!! Call a cab people!!!

  • Guest1111111111 says:

    So someone gets a second and third chance to kill someone? My husband’s best friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. It was the driver’s third offense, he was driving with a revoked license, under the influence of having been drinking since 9:00am that morning. If the punishment had been harsh enough the first time he was caught, he may not have been on the road at that moment to end the life of a husband, father, a brother, an uncle, a god-father, a friend. Our loved one is gone forever, but this guy only got 12 years. He will be out in 2016 and get to carry on with his life.

    These chronic drunks should have GPS strapped to them 24/7 and should never be allowed to ever get behind the wheel of any car. This accident is no different that someone picking up a gun and pointing it at someone. When you knowingly get behind the wheel of a car, when you have been drinking and taking drugs, then you are loading the bullet into the gun. He should be charged with first degree murder since he knew he was drunk and high and he still got in that car.

    My heart breaks for the family and friends of the Doolittles. Having been through this kind of loss, some advice…let yourself get angry, talk about it with someone, do not let it build up inside of you. And stay on Ben David’s butt to see that this a**hole does not get a mere 12 years for what he has done. God bless…

  • Challengetheworld says:

    My condolences to a family who deserves the upper hand of justice. I hope the DA makes an example out of this guy!

    In RE: Three Strikes, NO, it needs to be more severe. Its a felony to steal pine straw but a misdemeanor to get a DUI charge in this state! Something must be done at the Raleigh level.

    The assets of this scumbag won’t even pay for the funeral expenses of one of the people lost in this tragedy. To me, this is no different then someone commiting murder in the first degree. The offender in this case, chose to consume alcohol, perhaps other substances and drive his vehicle carelessly and recklessly. That is enough malice and forethought to meet even the minumum requirements for murder.

  • How about this says:

    How about one strike instead of 3? Or start making cars that have a breathalyser built in. I would have no problem with that at all.

  • Guest007 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I too feel that a 3-strikes law is extremely lenient, but knowing the legislative bodies we have in Raleigh, it would be a huge victory in the fight against drunk driving.

    This is how I would imagine the punishments: the first DUI conviction should result in 1 year minimum prison sentence (without early release), 5 year revocation of license and confiscation of their vehicle. A second offense would be a 10 year minimum prison sentence (again, no early release), mandatory substance abuse help, life-time revocation of license and confiscation of all motor vehicles that are registered to that person, including mopeds/scooters. If God forbid, there is a third time, then it would be a life sentence. Same goes if anyone is killed or injured due to drunk driving — life sentence.

    My heart aches for this family and it’s worse knowing that this whole accident was preventable if the driver had not been drinking. It’s time to make the risk too high for even the biggest moron in the state to think twice about driving drunk.

  • Guest007 says:

    I bet that when all the facts are in, I bet that this isn’t the first time Grooms got caught driving under the influence. When will NC start dropping the hammer on these A-hole drunk/high drivers? At minimum, there should be a “3 strikes” law for impaired driving.

  • ccoleman says:

    Make no mistake, Thomas Grooms was wrong in his actions and deserves to be punished, but what do you know about him and his “assets”? You say “assets of this scumbag won’t even pay for the funeral expenses of one of the people”. From where do you gather this data? You call him a “scumbag”, but do you know him? Do you know anything about him other than this tragic mistake? What makes you better?

  • peevedcyclist says:

    The DA needs to go for 2nd-degree murder on this one. And whatever judge gets this case in his court needs to have the guts to impose a stiff sentence.

    Some thug gets chased, and a police officer dies after losing control of his car on the way to provide backup, and they drop the hammer on the guy for 2nd degree murder.

    So why did the judge let Jordan Whitley off the hook with a max of 39 months for 2nd degree murder when he got hopped up on smack and Xanax and ran over Phil Tidmarsh? And now Ben David won’t even go for a murder charge against THIS waste of oxygen who killed two cyclists?

    The DA and the judicial system need to drop the hammer on this guy. And HARD. Somehow, people need to get the message that it is NOT ok to drive when you’re drunk or on drugs. The only message being delivered right now is that the life of a cyclist is way less valuable than anyone else’s.

  • guesty says:

    Can we give Grooms two counts of 1st degree murder? He planned on getting drunk, he planned on driving. The only thing he didn’t plan was his victims. Nor does he care.

  • sevenseas says:

    I agree with your comments completely, get the DRUNKS off the roads….unfortunately that’s not going to happen as long as they can get a lawyer and get them off by pleading to a lesser charge or getting a restricted license to drive to work or either they just keep driving with or without a restricted license. I’d like to see anyone that blows a .08 or more (as far as I’m concerned a .01) slammed in jail for at least 30 day on the first offense even if it means losing their job because there is no reason, ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to be driving after consuming alcohol. I know there are many that will disagree with me but if someone can give me an intelligent reason to drive after drinking then I might reconsider my way of thinking but I doubt it.

  • Traci says:

    Yes definitely mandatory jail sentences and mandatory rehab they do have a disease-alcoholism and if they lose their jobs? who cares?! people are losing their lives! Maybe if they dont have money for gas they wont drive but taking their license?! thats comical that will still drive. They will drive if they have no insurance they just will. Alcoholics do not have any idea they are impaired they simply get behind the wheel drunk like they go to the bathroom. Does he have any idea what he has DONE?! DOES HE?! I seriously doubt the ramifications have even surfaced. Im mad Im very mad!! SENSELESS! and we are virtually helpless to this predator out there on our roads. My advice is to watch the other drivers and assume they are impaired, watch them and give yourself time to escape if necessary. Its scary on our roads.

  • Guest461 says:

    …but you all realize that all of the laws, GPS monitors, alcohol interlocks, prison will do NO good to prevent someone from getting behind the wheel of a 5000 lb weapon when they shouldn’t. Those are simply administrative controls and are easily and conveniently bypassed.

    The easy solution is to cut both feet off on the first offense, leaving them with the ability to feed themselves. The second offense takes that privelege away by removing the hands.

    Remember also, that 1st degree murder has the important component of a pre-meditated and intentional act of violence. As horrible as this accident was, I doubt the drunk driver actually set out with the intent of killing the cyclists. Very bad judgement at the very least, but not premeditated.

    Keep in mind as well that these very same results could have easily occurred from someone “texting” while on River Rd. Things happen extremely fast when you don’t pay attention at 55-70 mph!!! I see texting behavior every single day I get on the road.

    They get a 50 dollar fine and kill people every day just like the drunks. Why is it that the penalties aren’t the same?

  • sevenseas says:

    In response to Guest007, I’m in 100% agreement with you. On my post earlier today I had said a minimum of 30 days for the first offense but I like your ideas much better, 1 year first offense whether it be a doctor, lawyer construction worker, whoever, if you get caught for DWI, 1 year in the slammer without early release ….that might not solve the whole problem but at least we’ll know where that drunk is for at least 365 days, all that sounds good but those in Raleigh are too weak-kneed to get serious about a serious problem that’s killing and maiming citizen of this great state.

  • Kibikayuki says:

    I’m not a fan of our state’s government right now, but Beverly Purdue is definitely one for more severe punishments on criminals. Write a letter to her and I’m positive that action will be taken. That’s the ONE thing I did like about her. She does not believe in letting the bad guys get off easily!!

  • Guestprayers says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family in a very tough time.

    I’ll reserve comment on what I think the POS that killed them should recieve.

  • Belinda says:

    My sincerest condolences to your family at this tragic time. Eventhough I know none of you, this story and event has truly layed heavy on my heart. I pray that God will send you peace in your time of loss and that he surrounds you with his love and healing.

  • Vicky says:

    I want the family to know that I don’t know anyone involved in this but my heart breaks for you. I can’t imagine what you are feeling. I am so sorry you are going through this. Please know a lot of people are thinking about you.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    This is so very sad. I cant imagine the families grief. Deepest sympathies to them.

    Please do not let this murderer out of jail to repeat this horror. What a lowlife uncaring pig he is to risk the lives of innocent people just to catch a buzz. Makes me sick.

  • Guest1234 says:

    Prayers are with the family this evening in their time of need. We are all going to miss David and Trey. May God Bless and keep them. Love to all.

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