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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC / PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man charged with killing a young woman while driving while impaired was fined again for reckless driving to endanger.

Richard Constantineau was charged with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and driving left of center in May of last year less than two months before his alleged victim’s 23rd birthday.

Stephanie Heath’s 24th birthday is Monday, and Constantineau is still running into trouble on the road.

“Those are very serious charges, and these cases take time to ensure the investigation is thoroughly done on both sides to ensure that justice is actually served in this case because the victim in this case deserves justice,” Brunswick County ADA Gina Essey said. Essey said generally the more serious the charge, the longer it takes.

But Barb Lynch of Justice in Motion said the time is the issue.

“That’s where the problem lies, and in the meantime, drivers who are charged are out on the streets and in many instances, they are picking up another DWI, or they’re drinking, and they’re endangering everybody,” Lynch said.

Constantineau was stopped by a NC State Trooper in Pender County on March 14 for running off the road and into a ditch on his moped.

The ticket states he was driving in a “manner so as to endanger persons and or property,” and says he was not carrying a license at the time. North Carolina law allows driving a moped 50 CCs and less without a license, but many wonder why this man is on the road at all.

Essey said sometimes justice takes longer than the family and public would like, but there is a lot to consider.

“Speed and time does not determine justice,” she said. “Making sure that both sides are thoroughly informed, every avenue of investigation has been thoroughly covered, we have taken the time to review the case, review all possibilities, consequences.”

Constantineau has a case management appointment for the felony death charge in April and a court date for the moped incident in May.


Comment on this Story

  • guy

    its not murder when a drunkdriver has caused a car accident an someone dies its a tragedy but not a murder any one in that postion wishes they would have died trust me i know felony murder rule was invented to boost conviction rates an please families of the deceased which in many cases is why a conviction is made the family makes it happen i think unless their sworn in as a judge there say so should not influence the court in any way for example two men are related an one dies in a drinking an driving ACCIDENT the family members suggest that their penalty not be conviction does their decision make any difference in the safety of the community when the drunk driver was not convicted? think about it

  • dkberkley

    dkberkley i am sorry for her family taken so young.this man is a danger to the public and should not be out on the street where he can hurt or kill.he should be locked up!

  • First of all guy your statment makes absolutely no sense. Murder and death by DWI are two different things. Secondly what makes you an expert on this? Thirdly I worked in the court system for over 21 years.
    If someone picks up a gun and shoots someone is that not murde? So if a man decides to get in a vehicle while drunk and kills someone, how is that not murder by motor vehicle? He made a decision to drive impaired. Stephanie didn’t ask to be killed. I think you need to go back to law school and then come back and give another explaination that makes sense. The wording of your statment doesn’t even make sense. Why would they have these laws if it wasn’t considered a crime?
    You know that the felony murder rule (law) was invented (made a law) to boost convictions rates and please families of the deceased which in many cases is why a conviction is made the family makes it happen i think unless their sworn in as a judge there say so should not influence the court in any way? How do you know that? You comment is just one long run on sentence that makes no sense. How many times have you been convicted of DWI? Go back inside the bar and leave your phone in the car. You obviously are not very education or are under the influence yourself while you are writing this. What if it was your daughter that was killed? Would that make a difference to you? I think it would make a huge difference.

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