According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a drunken driver crashed into a vehicle carrying a groom, his best man, and a groomsman, causing fatal personal injuries to all three. The crash occurred less than an hour before the wedding was set to begin.
Trooper Scott Floyd said the crash took place shortly after 3 p.m. on April 18.
The victims were en route to the wedding in Bladen County, when their Honda Prelude was struck head-on by the Chrysler Sebring convertible driven by 43-year-old Whiteville resident John Daniel Kelley.
The crash took the lives of the groom, 23-year-old Whiteville resident Brandon Tedder, his brother, 13-year-old Tabor City resident Daniel Sykes, and 19-year-old Delco resident Brandon Lee Mintz.
According to Columbus County Coroner Linwood Cartrette, all three victims were killed instantly in the N.C. 214 crash. None of the three was wearing a seat belt.
Floyd says that Kelley sustained serious injuries, but is expected to survive. He received air transport to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington. His son, 17-year-old Michael Vincent Kelley, was a passenger in his vehicle. He was not seriously injured, according to Floyd. Both were wearing seat belts.
Tedder was to be wed to Bladen County resident Angell Nicole Bonham at 4 p.m. Sykes was a groomsman and Mintz was the best man.
According to Floyd, Kelley was westbound on N.C. 214 and drifted into the eastbound lane. Floyd said that Mintz was driving the Honda at least 10 mph faster than the posted 55-mph limit.
Tedder was seated in the front passenger seat. Sykes was ejected from the rear seat and landed in the ditch where the Honda came to rest, according to Floyd.
Floyd said police discovered several empty alcohol beverage bottles in Kelley’s car. He was charged with DWI. Police took a blood sample from Kelley at the hospital, which Floyd says will be analyzed in a state laboratory.