N.C. teen charged with three counts of felony DUI in fatal crash that killed passenger

troot@thesunnews.comJune 18, 2013 

An 18-year-old North Carolina man was charged in connection with a fatal crash that killed another teen who was a passenger in his vehicle late Friday, according to an arrest report filed Monday evening.

Taifa Metho Kituku, 18, of Kannapolis, N.C., was charged with felony driving under the influence with death results and two counts of felony driving under the influence with great bodily injury at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Myrtle Beach police charged Kituku in connection with the death of Braydon Harding, 19, also of Kannapolis, N.C., who was a passenger in the back seat of Kituku’s vehicle that was struck by another vehicle at 11:30 p.m. Friday on Farrow Parkway and Kings Highway, according to authorities.

Two 18-year-old men also were hurt during the crash.

In a Myrtle Beach police report, officers wrote that Kituku broke down and told police the crash was his fault when he was told of Harding’s death.

Officers were called for a crash involving a white Nissan Sentra, driven by Kituku, going west toward Farrow Parkway from Ocean Boulevard at the intersection of U.S. 17 Business, according to the report.

Police said Kituku disregarded the stop light, which was red, crossed the intersection and was struck by a Ford Excursion from Tennessee that was traveling south on U.S. 17 Business, according to the report. The Ford rolled on its side and Kituku was alert after the crash.

Officers noted that Kituku’s eyes were glassy and red, according to the report. Kituku denied drinking alcohol, but officers conducted an eye test. After being asked again, Kituku told the officer he had been drinking liquor earlier in the day, but “that he didn’t drink much,” according to the report.

Officers could not perform a field sobriety test because of Kituku’s injuries, according to the report. The men in Kituku’s vehicle were trapped in the vehicle and firefighters had to remove them from the car before they were taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The passengers and driver of the Ford were not hurt and able to walk away from the crash, according to the report. Harding was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers noted Kituku suffered minor injuries to his head and bruising from a seatbelt, according to the report. Officers took blood and urine for testing from Kituku while he was being treated at the hospital.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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