Man charged in weekend wreck that killed toddler, newborn

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Matthew Deans
Matthew Deans

A Wilmington man faces multiple charges in a wreck that killed a Charlotte toddler and an infant born after the mother was injured in the wreck in Pender County.

Matthew Deans, 28, has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed in connection with a wreck reported Saturday on U.S. 17 and Sloop Point Road, according to N.C. State Highway Patrol Trooper R.D. Hendrickson.

Deans was driving a commercial box truck south on U.S. 17 at about noon Saturday, when he reportedly failed to reduce speed and rear-ended an SUV stopped at a stop light. The wreck forced the SUV into two vehicles ahead of it, which were also stopped at the light, Hendrickson said. The three vehicles hit were occupied by members of the same family.

In the first vehicle that was hit, a pregnant woman and her 2-year-old son were injured. The mother, 27-year-old Hadley Eddings, of Charlotte, and her son, Gentry Dobbs Eddings III, were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Gentry Dobbs Eddings III died on the way to the hospital, Hendrickson said.

Hadley Eddings, who was 37 weeks pregnant, had an emergency cesarean section at the hospital, Hendrickson said. The mother and her newborn were taken to North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, where the infant died Monday night.

Other members of the Eddings family—the father of the children, 28-year-old Gentry Dobbs Eddings II, and his parents, 59-year-old Gentry Dobbs Eddings and 58-year-old Patricia Eddings—suffered minor injuries in the wreck, Hendrickson said.

Deans, who had minor injuries, was booked at the Pender County jail on Saturday and released under a $10,000 bond. Deans was expected to be arrested Tuesday in connection with the newborn’s death, Hendrickson said.

The investigation is ongoing.