Felony case involving child’s death delayed

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 02:21 PM

A Vance County Superior Court case involving the death of an 18-month-old last July was delayed this week.

Ira Evans made an appearance Tuesday before Judge Henry Hight Jr., learning the case would tentatively be scheduled for July. Evans, 41, is facing charges of felony death by vehicle and driving while impaired from the July 20 crash, a violent head-on collision on U.S. 1 in Middleburg.

The prosecution said the case is delayed due to an accident reconstruction study yet to be received.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Griffin, no relation to Jaleah Griffin, said the study had been ordered on a defense motion by Attorney David Waters. He added Waters and the court had expected to have received it by now, but it was incomplete.

The report would be available as evidence in the case and would be done by a qualified private technician independent of police agency personnel and the district attorney’s office.

Evans, of 3082 U.S. 158 Bypass, is charged with veering his 2007 Dodge Charger across the center line of U.S. 1 in Middleburg at about 10:30 p.m. on July 20, striking the oncoming 1995 Mercedes Benz with Derrick Burchette, 22, of Warrenton and his daughter Jaleah Griffin inside.

A medical examiner’s report released earlier this year noted the cause of death for Jaleah Griffin was trauma to the head.

In a narrative summary, the report noted that the child had been strapped in a car seat, but it ripped out and likely went through the windshield as the car flipped.

Injuries included numerous leg fractures and a deep laceration to the top of her head.

Evans is also charged with being intoxicated at the time that he caused the crash.

Elliott Fuller of the N.C. Highway Patrol in prior statements described the crash as violent and head on, saying the Charger kept going off the wrong side of the roadway to the left as the Mercedes flipped.

Fuller said that he believed alcohol was a factor. It had rained earlier in the day, but Fuller said there were no weather related dangers at the time of the crash.


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.