Alcohol, other charges filed in fatal wreck


First Posted: 12/2/2009

A Dobson man has been accused of an alcohol violation stemming from a fatal car accident last spring which claimed the life of an Ararat teen, according to the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
Filberto Hernandez, 21, was charged this week with aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol in connection with the April 18 wreck in which Michael Kessey Dehart was killed. The violation was filed by Special Agent Stacy Cox of the state Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Division, an agency of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
The driver of the compact car involved, Joshua Hembree, of 2637 Ararat Road, Ararat, who was 18 when the wreck occurred in southern Surry County, had been charged in early November with involuntary manslaughter and felony death by vehicle.
Hembree, who was seriously injured in the single-vehicle crash, additionally was charged with driving while impaired by the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Also, Luke Van Horn, 19, of Dobson, was charged on Nov. 25 with two counts of aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol.
The offenses against the three individuals were filed after an extensive investigation into the death of Dehart, a passenger in the car allegedly driven by Hembree. The ALE, Surry County District Attorneys Office and Highway Patrol conducted the investigation.
Hernandez, Van Horn, Hembree and Dehart are said to have been at a party in a remote cabin in Thurmond, in western Surry County, when Hembree and Dehart left for their home in Ararat, according to authorities. Hembree had been drinking at the party, investigators say.
The vehicle ran off State Route 2019 (Ararat Road) between its intersections with Nurse and Key roads, eight miles northwest of Pilot Mountain, and struck a tree.
Trooper Rex Carter of the Highway Patrol said that speed was a factor in the accident in which the eastbound vehicle went off the right shoulder of the roadway, leading the driver to overcorrect. The car then crossed the center line and hit the tree in the front yard of a residence near 3120 Ararat Road.
Dehart, a former student at Surry Central High School, was pronounced dead at the scene and Hembree was airlifted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and treated in the Intensive Care Unit.
Hembree was released under a $50,000 secured bond after being charged last month. He was scheduled to appear in Surry Superior Court on Tuesday of this week, but details of that appearance were unavailable.

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