Teen charged in Shallotte wreck that killed 13-year-old boy

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Devin Harris
Devin Keither Harris

One of two teens who survived a fatal Shallotte wreck that ended in Mulberry Creek last week has been charged in connection with the death of a 13-year-old boy who died at the scene.

Devin Keither Harris, 18, of Calabash, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in connection with the fatal wreck that killed Caleb Smith on Bridgers Road at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to arrest warrants.  He was charged Sunday.

Warrants state Harris is charged with driving left of center and colliding with a bridge. Last Wednesday, it was reported that law enforcement and emergency responders found the vehicle submerged in about seven feet of water in Mulberry Creek. Shallotte police officers and firefighters, as well as with deputies from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, pulled the three teens from the submerged vehicle.

Caleb was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the Town of Shallotte. Devin Harris and his brother, 16-year-old Justice Harris, were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment.

According to Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gause, the two brothers suffered substantial injuries but were expected to make a full recovery. In a statement issued by the police chief Wednesday morning, Gause said, “It does not appear that the vehicle ran off the road, there are no marks.”

Initial investigations showed that the vehicle was traveling toward N.C. 130 on Bridgers Road at the time of the incident. The vehicle reportedly hit the left side of Mulberry Bridge on the passenger side of the vehicle before it left the roadway and submerged in the water.

Justice Harris and Devin Harris are the sons of former Shallotte police detective Tammy Mantreforte, who worked at the Shallotte Police Department from Oct. 25, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2016, according to Johnson.

Justice Harris is a freshman at West Brunswick High School, Jessica Swencki, spokeswoman for Brunswick County Schools, said.

Smith was the son of a Pastor at Waterbrook Community Church in Long, South Carolina, according a post on their Facebook page Wednesday. Pastor Scott Smith joined the church in 2012.

Devin Harris was booked at the New Hanover County Jail on Sunday and released on a $5,000 bond.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, we have no comment at this time,” Gause said on Monday morning.

The Office of District Attorney Jon David has been working closely with the Shallotte Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on the case. In a statement about the case released Monday, David said the initial goal in charging the defendant is to get him into the court system.

“In the coming weeks, following a comprehensive investigation by multiple agencies, my office will be evaluating the case,” David said. “At that time, we will determine whether or not to add additional charges, increase or decrease the charge, or whether to proceed on the original arrested offense.”

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