Salisbury man faces felony charges following deadly ATV accident

Published 2:10 pm Monday, May 9, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man faces felony charges stemming from a weekend ATV accident that killed his sister-in-law.

Christopher Brian McDonald, 34, of the 700 block of Walton Road, was charged Saturday with felony death by vehicle and driving while impaired in the death of Laura Gorman, 32, of Lexington.

According to a N.C. Highway Patrol report, McDonald was under the influence while driving an all-terrain vehicle on Walton Road. The report lists that as the “proximate cause of death” of Gorman. The incident happened at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, but according to Trooper H.T. Sloop, Gorman wasn’t pronounced dead until Sunday morning.

McDonald also faces the following traffic infractions: reckless driving/wanton disregard, operating a vehicle without insurance, drive/allow motor vehicle with no registration and expired/no inspection.

Sloop said McDonald, whose blood alcohol content was .12 —  the legal limit is .08 — was operating the ATV, and Gorman was a passenger. He was traveling west on Walton Road when he ran off the right side of the road, lost control and struck a metal mailbox. Both McDonald and Gorman were thrown from the four-wheeler.

Gorman hit her head on the asphalt and was taken via ambulance to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and later airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Sloop said.

There were other family members around during the time of the accident. They were riding the ATV up and down a road with no outlet.

“There’s about a 100-yard stretch of road where there’s no houses,” Sloop said.

Sloop said according to N.C. General Statutes, both parties are supposed to wear helmets and protective eyewear and are not to ride on a public street or highway. The statute also says a person operating an ATV should not be under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance.

McDonald was convicted of traffic-related infractions in Cabarrus and Rowan counties including speeding in two separate 2007 incidents, and misdemeanor hit and run. A reckless driving charge was dismissed by a Cabarrus County judge in April 2009. A driving while license revoked charge and no operator’s license charge were dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office in 2002.

He was convicted of a lesser offense of hit and run leaving the scene of property damage in 2009 after a 2008 charge of failure to stop for a stop sign/flashing red light. McDonald was convicted of a lesser offense of speeding 54 in a 45 mph zone in February after he was charged with speeding 62 in a 45 mph zone in July 2015.

He was also convicted of attempted trafficking in opium/heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor larceny, resisting arrest and a 1996 conviction for felony robbery with a dangerous weapon.

In 2008, he was cited with driving while impaired, operating a vehicle with no insurance and fictitious or altered title/registration card or tag; he was found not guilty of all charges. In 2000, McDonald was cited for exceeding safe speed and convicted on the lesser offense of improper equipment, and a citation for license not in possession was dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office.

McDonald remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $26,500 secured bond.