LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Two people are dead and a man charged with their death after a single-car crash early this morning that cut the car in half in a Leland neighborhood.
The Leland Police Department has identified the two victims as Anika Aikman of Wilmington and Jonathan Clark of Leland. Eric Hill of Leland is charged with two counts of second degree murder, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, driving while license revoked and driving while impaired. Hill is in the Brunswick County Detention Center under more than $1 million bond.
Investigators say the crash happened around 4:15 a.m. when the car hit a tree at the intersection of Grandiflora Drive and Willow Pond Lane in Magnolia Greens. The impact cut the car in half sending the back half about 40 yards up the street to the left, while the front half went about 60 yards up the street and stopped in a tree next to a house. What appeared to be the door of the car was wrapped around the first tree.
Neighbor Mike Kincaid says when the car hit that tree it was loud enough to wake him up.
“It sounded like a lighting strike,” Kincaid said. “My next door neighbor, he described it more as a bomb going off, and that may be a more accurate description.”
Down the road from that tree is where the back half of the car stopped and across the street from that tree is the front half of the car in Jenny Boone’s back yard.
“I heard it hit the tree and slam into the tree, and I heard it slide across the grass,” Boone said. “I really thought it was going to come into our house.”
At that moment Boone says only one thing went through her head.
“We have three small children: a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a five-month-old,” Boone said.
She’ll be holding them a little tighter today, because she says she’s thankful for that tree.
“I just praise God that that tree was there, because that car would have gone right through our front door and into our home,” Boone said.
She also says she can’t help but think of all of the families involved.
“I’m really, really sorry to the families who lost loved ones, especially around the holidays, but I’m just so thankful that our family is safe,” Boone said.
Her neighbors are also safe, but Kincaid says he can only wonder what it took for that tree to do this.
“It’s just very eye opening as to what speed can do,” Kincaid said.
Investigators say Aikman and Clark died at the scene. Hill reportedly left the scene, but he was found a short time later.
Multiple law enforcement officers at the scene Saturday morning said they had never seen anything like what happened to the car in this crash.